Designer Wiradjuri Denni Francisco wins second year first prize at National Indigenous Fashion Awards 2022

Designer Wiradjuri Denni Francisco wins second year first prize at National Indigenous Fashion Awards 2022

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A Wiradjuri stylist whose philosophy of “Yindyamarra” – a fashion that shows “respect, is polite, considered, kind to the country” – won the designer of the year award at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards.

For the second year in a row, Ngali’s Denni Francisco has won the Fashion Designer Award for her elegant, tailor-made womenswear, which features digital prints and hand-embellished details adapted from the works of First Nations artists from all over. the country.

Francisco’s latest collection, unveiled at Australian Fashion Week in May, featured works by Northwest Kimberly artist Gija Lindsay Malay.

Related: Country to Couture 2022: indigenous fashion lands on the catwalk – in the images

A Wiradjuri woman, Francisco describes her design philosophy as “Yindyamarra” or “fashion that shows respect, is polite, thoughtful, kind to the country and honors collaborations across the country with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait island creatives.” “.

Francisco has become a key figure in the Australian fashion industry, advising on projects such as the creation of an Australian fashion brand.

From a hand-knotted mókko (bark skirt) to statement-making streetwear, the breadth of indigenous design excellence was celebrated Wednesday at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (Nifa) on a warm, dry-season evening in Darwin.

Held at Larrakia Country in Darwin as part of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, the awards recognized outstanding contributions in six fields: from traditional ornamentation, to textile design, to fashion design and wearable art, to collaboration with the community and company results.

Esther Yarlarlla won the traditional ornament award for a mókko (bark skirt) commissioned by the Bábbarra Women’s Center. Yarllarlla is a Kunibidji artist living in Maningrida, Arnhem Land, and her traditional woven and knotted works are made with banyan trees growing next to her home, which she handpicks and works to create bags of rope, mats, baskets and sculptures.

Models walk the runway with Clothing The Gaps designs during the First Nations Fashion + Design show at Australian Fashion Week in May 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Stefan Gosatti / Getty Images)

Models walk the runway with Clothing the Gaps designs during the First Nations Fashion and Design Show at Australian Fashion Week in May in Sydney. Photograph: Stefan Gosatti / Getty Images

Laura Thompson of the streetwear label for the social enterprise Clothing the Gaps was honored for her corporate successes. Clothing the Gaps ethically crafted clothing and accessories celebrate indigenous identity and sovereignty, and the brand’s stance on cultural appropriation has been influential beyond the fashion industry.

Artist and weaver Philomena Yeatman won the textile design award. Yeatman uses a combination of modern materials and pandanus, cabbage palm and natural dyes to create her textile works, which draw inspiration from her Gunggandji and Kuku Yalanji family history. Based in Yarrabah in Queensland’s far north, Yeatman’s art is extensively collected, including by institutions such as the National Gallery of Australia and the Queensland Art Gallery.

Ngarru Miimi’s textile and fashion designer Lillardia Briggs-Houston was nominated for her work in both textile design and wearable arts, winning the wearable arts category with a hand-printed and hand-painted jumpsuit. The costume, which also included reed decorations, a printed veil and earrings with pipe cleaner seeds, was created in the village of Wiradjuri in Narrungdera / Narrandera. Briggs-Houston’s ready-to-wear fashion also featured on the cover of Vogue Australia.

Mimili Maku Arts, Linda Puna and Unreal Fur were awarded for their collaboration with the community. Puna’s capsule collection for Unreal Fur, 18 months of work, was supported by the Copyright Agency in an effort to maintain best practices throughout the design process. The result was a collection of pastel printed down jackets, a reversible faux fur jacket and a black overcoat embroidered with the artwork by Puna Ngayuku Ngura (My Home). Filming for the collection’s campaign took place in Country in Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and included behind-the-scenes opportunities for the young women of the community.

Related: Australian Fashion Week 2022: 10 key fashion shows – in pictures

The Nifas are part of a series of events this week celebrating Aboriginal art, design and culture as part of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, which opens on Thursday.

On Friday, the winners of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards – the country’s richest art prize, with a prize pool of $ 190,000 in seven categories – will be announced at sunset on the lawns of the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery.

The National Indigenous Music Awards will introduce Gurrumul to the hall of fame on Saturday. A tribute to the late great Archie Roach is planned.

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