It was a night of inspiration, awe and much-deserved recognition for the First Nations fashion industry.
Backstage, the Creative Director Perina Drummond (of Jira Models), head stylist Rhys Ripper and head stylist assistant Nina Fitzgerald, sent out look after incredible look.
There were captivating prints from North Home Textiles with Injalak and Marrawuddi art centres; jean joy from Deadly Denim and Bobbi Lockyer; stylish streetwear from Dunjiba Fashions and Ku Arts; and glorious gowns from Numus Design by Naomy Briston.
“My creativity is inspired by my spiritual connection to Country,” says Briston, a Larrakia woman and award-winning artist, whose daughter modelled her designs in the show.
This is the beauty of First Nations fashion: the fusion of culture, creativity, community and family.
While Briston cheered her daughter on, the little girl wearing a sparkly tutu and sneakers was in the crowd excitedly watching her adoptive mother walk the runway.
For the past six years, the Country to Couture show has brought together families, artists and top tier talent in a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textiles and design.
And each year the applause gets louder. “I think the light that has been shone on Indigenous fashion right now is timely and we certainly have a space in the fashion [industry],” says Ngali designer Denni Francisco, who presented a collection at Country to Couture and took out the coveted Fashion Design Award at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards earlier in the week.
This standing ovation is for you Denni – and all the First Nation creatives bringing beauty into the world. Bravo.