At Sunset on Larrakia Country (Darwin, NT) at the Waterfront precinct people gathered to celebrate the National Indigenous Fashion Awards and all the designers from around this country.

The NIFAs are in their third year and grew out of the success of the Country to Couture.

The NIMA’s are a part of the Darwin Aboriginal Arts Fair and a way of celebrating and awarding the work and collaboration’s of designers, designers who come from all around Australia.

FASHION DESIGNER AWARD Winner Denni Francisco – Ngali

Photo by National Indigenous Times


Photo by National Indigenous Times
Photo by National Indigenous Times


For the second year in a row Denni Francisco has taken the main award for Fashion Designer of the year.

Francisco is a Wiradjuri woman currently based out of Naarm (Melbourne) and is the creative director of the Brand Ngali.

Francisco’s most recent collaboration with Lindsay Malay, a Kimberley artist based out of the Warmun Art Gallery, was displayed at the Country to Couture fashion runway the night before.

I think that everything that we do as First Nations is that we always do it collectively, you know, when we can be there for each other, when we can support each other,” Francisco said.

“When we can do everything that we can do to forge pathways for all of the people who follow us.”


Photo by National Indigenous Times

Esther Yarllarlla is a Kunibidji artist from Maningrida. She took to the stage to accept the award surround by friends and family from the women’s center and shared a story about why and how she makes her dilly bags.

“this dilly bag when we make it, many things, yams for our food from the bush, we still carry with this one and I’m still make this kind for my hunting and I go for bush and ill put my dilly bag, everything in my bag,” Yarllarlla said.

“that’s our culture, it’s not for white people its our culture important one for mine.”

Towards the end of her speech Yarllarla became emotional but still managed to jokingly say “I’m a fashion queen now” before leaving the stage.

TEXTILE DESIGN AWARD Winner Philomena Yeatman

Photo by National Indigenous Times

Philomena Yeatman is a Gunggandji based out Yarrabah arts centre.

Yeatman spent most of her time with her grandparents where she would go out into the bush with her grandmother who taught her about how to weave using plants from the environment.

I’d like to keep my weaving going so it doesn’t die out because I think I am the only one at the moment besides my two aunties, I wanna do some more after this one,” Yeatman said.

Yeatman was escorted on to stage by her partner who embraced her as she was presented with the award before leaving the stage.

Community Collaboration Winner Mimili Maku Arts, Linda Puna x Unreal Fur

Photo by Tamati Smith

Linda Puna is a Yankunytjatjara of Mimili a remote community in Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands).

Puna wasn’t able to be in attendance to accept the award. Jack Tuftie, the second half of the collaboration, was able to accept the award and spoke about how important collaborative work is.

I want to thank you on behalf of all of them and myself for this award this evening,” Tuftie said.

“I really do believe community collaboration is the spirit of what we’ve done together with Linda this year.”

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Winner Laura Thompson – Clothing The Gaps

Photo by National Indigenous Times

Laura Thompson is a Gunditjmara woman who is the founder of Clothing the Gaps based in Naarm.

Before starting clothing the gaps Laura worked in community control for 15 years before deciding she wanted to start her own business in Health promotion.

Clothing the Gaps has been a driving force in helping to bring non-Indigenous audiences in o Indigenous social issues over the years and the brand also helps to fund a number of health programs currently run by Clothing The Gaps.

“Want to say is that I didn’t know anyone that owned the business and now for my grannies nieces and family they have me and they know so many people here that they can see the opportunity of business to self-determine their own futures,” Thompson said.

WEARABLE ART AWARD Winner Lillardia Briggs-Houston

Lillardia Briggs is a Wiradjuri Gangulu Yorta Yorta woman based in Narrungdera/Narrandera, Wiradjuri Country, who produces textiles and garments.

Briggs has had her works featured in Publications such as Vogue and Marie Claire.

Other nominees for each category include

Fashion Design Award –

Wearable Arts Award –

  • Irene Robinson

Textile Design Awards – 

Business Achievement Award –