In a national first, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021 has held dedicated First Nations runways on Gadigal Country.

Occurring on the eve of Mabo Day at Sydney’s iconic Carriageworks, the First Nations Fashion + Design (FNFD) runway was an all First Nations experience with seven Blak designers including NGARRU MIIMI, Clair Helen, AARLI, Grace Lillian Lee and Nungala Creative.

The runway hosted a line-up of First Nations models which included familiar faces Luke Currie-Richardson, Charlee Fraser and drag star Felicia Foxx.

Felicia Foxx and Luke-Currie Richardson on the FNFD Runway. Photo supplied.

The event opened with a performance from renowned musician and composer William Barton and performer DRMNGNOW, and artists Currie-Richardson and Cleopatra Pryce performed during intermission.

In a powerful Instagram caption, DRMNGNOW acknowledged his pride in being part of the FNFD event.

“So many layers of emotion were experienced. It was a show like nothing I have ever been apart [sic] of. In fact I can’t even tell you what to call it … but it was beautiful and today my heart feels ripples of the past 24 hours lingering through bloodstream as blood feels to be moving in a different way,” he wrote.

“You have so many of the key ingredients of what is missing in so called Australia in a perfect storm of Blak magic, Blak love, Blak togetherness, and Blak healing, Blak past present and future. Held in the DNA, the skin, the land — the everything that is us.

“We are this land and this land is us and we are so beautiful. Nothing can ever break that.”


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The following day the Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) Runway took place. Curated by Perina Drummond, the runway was presented by Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation program, IFP; IMG Fashion; and David Jones.

The IFP Runway took place on Mabo Day, June 3 and featured collections by Ngali Australia, Liandra Swim, MAARA Collective, Native Swimwear Australia, Indii Swimwear Australia and Kirrikin.

The show also saw model Samantha Hunt (nee Harris) take the runway.

Samantha Hunt (nee Harris) wearing Indii Swimwear. Photo Supplied IFP.

Hunt, who was in the audience the previous day alongside model Nathan McGuire and musician Jessica Mauboy, walked for an audience that included journalism great Narelda Jacobs.


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By Rachael Knowles