When Ngali’s founder and designer, Wiradjuri woman Denni Francisco started her brand, she just wanted an outlet for her creativity.
When she began working and collaborating with remote artists, Francisco knew she had found her stride.
Now, for the second year in a row, Francisco has taken out the Fashion Designer Award at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards.
Ngali won the top award for her recent collaboration with Kimberley artist Lindsay Malay from the Warmun Art Gallery, in her collection Miya.
Francisco said she feels there is a responsibility with winning the award for the second time.
“I think with winning an award there comes a responsibility,” she said.
“How do we use say, an award to advance our other creatives? And I think that what this second year is going to be about.
“What is it that we can do to really help to shine the light on First Nations design and fashion and preparing those pathways for others to follow in their own way, not necessarily in the same way, but in a way that’s going to be right for them.”
Her Miya collection she created alongside Malay, came out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the last few years, when everything slowed down it seemed like the sky was bluer and the grass was greener and you can hear the birds somewhat more,” she said.
“And being out on Country and just having that space for creativity to emerge is where the inspiration came from and so the prints in the collection really evolved to that.
“Basically everything Ngali does comes from Country in one form or another.”
Her partner in crime through the collection, Francisco said Malay was unable to attend the awards as he was out on Country but she was able to break the news to him via a phone call.
“I just managed to speak to him only 20 minutes ago,” she said.
“And he said to me, ‘if I was there I probably would have been crying’ and that’s just so beautiful.”
Looking ahead of her win, Francisco said to keep our eyes peeled for a new collection in the Spring/Summer season.
One that she ‘soft-launched’ on the Country to Couture runway.
“What was shown on the runway of Country to Couture is an indication of our Spring/Summer, resort collection,” she said.
“But there will also be new additions to that as we move forward. We always talk about the journey we’re on.
“And we do that with our collection as well and we think about what’s in somebody’s wardrobe now and how that can be worn again with future releases and so on.”
Francisco and Ngali will be back on the runway during Melbourne Fashion Week in October.