A Darwin-based First Nations fashion label run by an ex-AFL star is eyeing national expansion after received a Federal Government grant.

Founder of House of Darwin, ex-AFL player Shauny Edwards is hoping to take the House of Darwin brand out of the Northern Territory and collaborate with other brands las they have in the past with Film Never Die and Harry’s.

Edwards said he was excited at the prospect of branching out.

“We’re releasing a new collection with AFENDS soon,” he said.

“We’re hoping to expand our footprint beyond the borders of the Northern Territory and Australia through different wholesale accounts and activations.”

House of Darwin was among 21 recipients of the Australian Council for the Arts’ inaugural flourish fund to support the production, design and professional development and increased digital visibility for the First Nations Textile design and fashion sector.

For Edwards and House of Darwin, the brand is not just another fashion label but also a social enterprise.

Edwards said profits were invested back into the community, including the funding of a basketball program.

“We’ve launched Hoop Dreams in the Northern Territory and are refurbishing basketball courts in remote Indigenous communities,” he said.

“We know that basketball courts act as a central point of health, dance and wellbeing for many Northern Territory communities.

“Refurbishing a basketball court with an engaging mural will have great health and wellbeing outcomes for the community.”

Wiradjuri founder and designer of Ngali, Denni Francisco has also been awarded a grant to expand First Nations creativity in the domestic and global fashion market.

A 2022 winner of the Fashion Designer Award at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards, Francisco said she planned to use the grant in a number of ways.

“We’re going to be working on an extension of our scarf collection because our scarf collection is really popular,” she said.

“The grant gives us the opportunity to do more formal collaborations and being apart of the fair (Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair) is actually being able to identify you know what artists might be interested in doing that with us.”

Flourish fund recipients: 

  • Tiwi Designs Aboriginal Corporation (Northern Territory)–  for training initiatives in silkscreen artwork translation, screen making and textile production.
  • Kinaway Chamber of Commerce (Victoria) – for its KIN Textile Library – artistic resource for creatives expanding their practice to include textile
  • Liandra Gaykamang  (Northern Territory) – The Deep Sea Collection: Together, Apart Lets Interact
  • House of Darwin (Northern Territory) – scaling their retail footprint and activations nationally & internationally
  • Lyllardya Houston (New South Wales) – Walumarra Collection 2022
  • Gammin Threads (Victoria) – Gammin threads Accessories Range
  • Nathan McGuire (New South Wales) – Solid Ochre – Debut Collection at Australian Fashion Week May 2023
  • Ikuntji Artists Aboriginal Corporation (Northern Territory) – Ikuntji Artists at the London Pacific Fashion Week 2022 + Pacific Arts
  • Ananguku Arts & Cultural Aboriginal Corporation (South Australia) – Iwiri and Ku Arts Textile Project
  • Injalak Arts & Crafts Aboriginal Corporation (Northern Territory) – Arnhem Land Textile Design Workshop hosted and run on country by Injalak Arts
  • Maria Caldwell (New South Wales) – Bundjalung Textile & Design Industry Development for emerging/mid-career creatives.
  • Jarin Baigent (New South Wales) – for Jarin Street – Manfacturing/supply support & Digital Marketing/presence support
  • Paul McCann (Victoria) – Paul McCann: Evolution of Indigenous Artistic Practice across Fashion Design, Jewellery and Painting
  • Jedess Hudson (Queensland) – Pixelated Dreaming – Digital Fusion for Fashion
  • PR Creative (Northern Territory) – Studio North x Yarrenyty Altere Artists Capsule Collection
  • Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation (Western Australia) – Emerging Juluwarlu designs and designers sharing Yindjibarndi culture
  • Rebecca Barlow (Western Australia) – Mambakoort Collection Deadly Denim
  • Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (Northern Territory) –  research on digital marketing platform for Indigenous Art Centres’ textiles and fashion
  • Ngali pty ltd (Victoria) – Ngali – expanding First Nations Creativity in the Domestic and Global Fashion Market
  • Julie Appo (Queensland) – ‘Gnarla’ will support activities to extend Julie’s art practice, together with an online retail platform.
  • Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council (Queensland) – Yarrabah Fashion Style 2023