If you’re like me, you love the story behind the fashion you buy. You love searching for brands that consider people, animals and the planet in their business model. The brands who are not just churning out fast and cheap fashion, but where the designers are expressing their truth through their fashion and telling a story.
The story of these 3 designers is steeped in Australia’s history, Indigenous culture and links to the Earth. I recently discovered them while writing my regular Eco Style column for Nature & Health magazine.
AARLI, pictured above, is the only Indigenous Fashion brand to be Ethical Clothing Australia accredited, ethically designed and manufactured in Australia. Their materials are sourced ethically and sustainably including dead stock, offcuts and organic fabrics. The signature style combines an urban feel with the designer’s Indigenous roots.
Seeing their collection on the runway at Undress Brisbane at the end of last year was awe-inspiring. It’s such a cool range of stylish streetwear and the beautiful designer, TJ Cowlishaw, has the highest standards and integrity.
Emu Designs is a luxury Australian swimwear and resort wear line known for it’s support features, Australian Indigenous prints, quality textiles, hand embellishments and vibrant colours which are reflections of our beautiful country Australia. I spoke with designer Natalie Cunningham for a recent article in Nature & Health magazine and the process she goes through to get the artwork onto her garments is quite incredible.
“I source Indigenous artists though remote Indigenous communities here in Australia, which returns money to them and supports them. When I am moved and inspired by one of their paintings, I work with the artists to make sure their dreamtime story stays in tact throughout production. It is a big process; contracts are drawn, paintings are turned to a graphics then I make their painting a repeat design so it can be ready for printing. We use the finest Silks and Lycra in the world and digitally print their stories onto these fabrics, and then sew my designs,” said Natalie.
Arkie is another label to watch out for. Only 21 years old and a recent graduate of Queensland University of Technology’s fashion program, Arkie Barton is keen to bring contemporary Indigenous artwork into the spotlight and into our wardrobes.
For the complete article, featuring some additional labels and interviews with Natalie Cunningham and TJ Cowlishaw, look out for the lastestl issue of Nature & Health magazine in newsagents around Australia and New Zealand.
** You’ll also find a huge interview (6 pages!) in this issue with me, interviewed and written by the beautiful and kind Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. She asked me all about living gently, that time I lived in a shipping container, eco-modelling and teaching teen girls.