Traditional Adornment Award – Esther Yarllarlla, Babbarra Women’s Centre Maningrida, Arnhem Land
Esther Yarllarlla is a “fashion Queen.” Just ask her. The Kunibidji artist, who lives in Maningrida in Arnhem Land, has a deep knowledge of traditional weaving and knotting, and her pieces are known to sell out at the Maningrida Arts and Culture Arts Centre.
Community Collaboration Award – Mimili Maku Arts, Linda Puna x Unreal Fur, Melbourne/APY Lands
The ‘Linda Puna x Unreal Fur’ capsule collection was 18-months in the making – and it sold out in no time at all.
The popularity of the collection is a testament to the phenomenal talent of artist Linda Puna and the dedication of Unreal Fur Creative Director Gilat Shani and Brand Manager Jack Tuftie, who centred Indigenous best practice and leadership.
The campaign included a fashion shoot on Country supporting the next generation of artists in the Mimili Community to develop skills in videography, photography, styling and modelling.
The resulting collaboration is a feat! And a deserving winner of the Community Collaboration Award. Bravo.
Business Achievement Award – Laura Thompson, Clothing the Gaps, Melbourne
When Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson was growing up, she didn’t know any business owners. Now, all the kids in her family know her: an award-winning, game-changing, mega-successful businesswoman.
The co-founder of Clothing The Gaps took out the Business Achievement Award for CTG’s innovation and community leadership through fashion. The organisation employs over 24 First Nations people and created over 9000 hours of employment for mob in the 2020-2021 financial year. Plus, they make really cool clothes.
Textile Design Award – Philomena Yeatman, Yarrahbah Arts and Cultural Precinct, Yarrabah, Queensland
Yarrabah artist Philomena Yeatman is a talented potter, weaver, painter, basket maker and textile creator. But above all else, she is a storyteller.
Through her textiles – for which she won the Textile Design Award – Philomena shares her family history and brings traditional stories to life.
Her award-winning piece tells the story of the stingray; the yellow of the beach flowers that indicate that stingray season has begun, the blue of the water and the red of the land. It’s more than a stunning piece of fabric – it’s a story for the ages.
Wearable Art Award – Lillardia Briggs-Housten Ngarru Miimi, Narrungdera/Narrandera, Wiradjuri Country, New South Wales
Every intricate detail on Lillardia Briggs-Houston’s award-winning garment was hand printed, hand painted and sewn on Country. Her hands create masterpieces, and they tell stories from her upbringing on her Country in Narrungdera, Wiradjuri Country, NSW.
Featuring bottlebrush seed earrings and embellished with two-metre reeds, the merino wool knit jumpsuit is the stuff of fashion dreams.
Fashion Designer Award – Denni Francisco, Ngali, Melbourne
She’s done it again! The formidable and oh-so fashionable Denni Franscisco has taken out the Fashion Designer Award at the NIFAs for the second year running.
The Wiradjuri designer’s label Ngali is an industry mainstay and has attracted significant international attention. Deservingly so.
Denni’s high-quality collections are created through the lens of Yindayamarra – fashion that shows respect, is gentle to Country and honours to the cross Country collaborations with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives.
As a fashion designer, Denni is a gift. As a woman in the industry, she is a force. As a NIFA winner, she is quick to share the honour. “Everything we do as First Nations [people], we do collectively. We’re there for each other, support each other and forge pathways for all the people who follow us. That’s what we’re about,” she says.
For more information, visit nifa.com.au