Melbourne Fashion Festival saw the launch of the inaugural Mob in Fashion program to elevate First Nations voices and representation behind the scenes in the fashion industry.

This program is the first of its kind in Australia and is a First Nations-led initiative, led by Whadjuk-Noongar model Nathan McGuire.

It aims to equip First Nations creatives with learning and training placements across MFF to provide sustainable employment opportunities across the industry.

This includes roles ranging from designers, models, stylists, hair and makeup artists, event product, PR and marketing specialists, photographers, journalists, programmers, sound and lighting, choreographers and set builders.

In a post to Instagram, Mr McGuire said there was a need for the program due to the lack of First Nations presence in the fashion industry.

“We recognise the gap in the industry where we were seeing a lot of representation for First Nations people on the catwalk, on magazines, on campaigns in the industry and there was an opportunity to further that representation within the Australian fashion industry,” he said.

“And that was to get creatives behind the scenes at industry level events such as Melbourne Fashion Festival.

“Creating that conversation and creating beautiful work and meeting different people is the way that we can help authentically change our industry and the representation that we have.”

McGuire moderated the Mob in Fashion panel on Saturday alongside First Nations panellists Yorta Yorta creative director Rhys Ripper, Yolngu designer Liandra Gaykamangu, Waanyi, Ngadjon photographer Robert Hookey and Kakadu, Wuthathi Thread Count in Independent Program’s Nina Fitzgerald.

The panel opened a discussion of their personal experiences in the fashion industry and the importance of First Nations representation across all parts of the industry.

Alongside Mob in Fashion, MFF also saw the inaugural First Nations Runway on Friday. Taking place at ACMI in Federation Square, the First Nations runway took place on the land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation.

Curated by Rhys Ripper, the show featured ready-to-wear garments by MAARA Collective, NGALI, Amber Days, Liandra Swim, Ngarru Miimi, Kirrikin, Wa-Ring and Yanggurdi.

MFF concluded Saturday, March 12.