What Is Aboriginal Fashion?
Aboriginal fashion is designed, made, or inspired by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. These indigents may be grouped under one name, but they’re actually a diverse people, coming from various ethnolinguistic groups.
Because each of these groups has its own history, art, language, and culture, there is no one single look to Aboriginal clothing and fashion. What really defines Aboriginal fashion is its pride and fearlessness in an industry that has long ignored it.
How Aboriginal Design & Clothing Are Revolutionizing The Fashion Industry
Most people think that fashion is just about dressing up, looking good, and staying on trend. But fashion goes beyond that – fashion tells us what kinds of aesthetics are prettier and better than others. It’s not just an item of clothing, it’s a reflection of what we value as a society.
The exclusion of Aboriginal designers from the fashion world had one message: Aboriginal clothing wasn’t “on-par” with Western fashion in terms of sophistication and beauty.
Thankfully, that idea is slowly changing, and the fashion industry is starting to give a voice to the previously silenced. Aboriginal designers have their own aesthetics and their own stories to tell. Their inclusion on the runways and in stores makes for a much more vibrant, inclusive, and diverse fashion world.
Top Indigenous Clothing Brands In Australia
BRACKS celebrates Aboriginal, Torres Strait, and South Sea Islander cultures through its modern indigenous designs. Their polo shirts for men are their biggest sells; each polo you buy helps the local communities and suppliers that make BRACKS possible.
Bundarra works closely with real Aboriginal artists to come up with the bright and bold fabrics their brand is known for. Each piece tells a story from the artist’s unique background and perspective. They make clothes for women and men, as well as children’s wear, sportswear and corporate uniforms.
Shannon Brett, the designer behind Lore, is a proud member of the Gurang Gurang tribe of Queensland. Her aim is to create garments that respect and celebrate her culture. She works with art centres across the country and loves to feature Aboriginal models on her Instagram.
5. Design Within Country
Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre is home to the Marnin Studio, a collective of artists and designers. Design Within Country was a fashion label created for the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Fashion Show and features pieces from indigenous peoples and the studio’s own artists-in-residence.
4. Lyn-Al Young
Lyn-Al Young doesn’t design dresses, she designs wearable art. The 20-something may be young, but her designs are bold, brave, meaningful, and absolutely stunning. She is working on a NAIDOC week collection with David Jones as their Emerging Designer.
From Aboriginal designer Arkie Barton comes Arkie, a fashion label that caters to young women with an eclectic sense of style. Barton combines mainstream Australian trends with her indigenous heritage to create stunning prints and vibrant patterns.
2. Native Swimwear Australia
If you’ve ever wanted to wear Aboriginal designs to the beach, then Native Swimwear Australia is your best bet. They have everything from bikinis to maillots to summer scarves for sale, giving you a full indigenous summer look from head to toe. Plus, the brand is 100% Aboriginal-owned and operated, which means you can be confident that your purchases actually support the Aboriginal community.
Unlike most other fashion houses, NORTH’s main focus isn’t to earn money – it’s to support and preserve Aboriginal art. They work with several Tiwi, Warlpiri, Anindilyakwa, Kunwinjku, and Ngan’gi artists to bring you unique hand screen-printed textile designs.
The rise in popularity of indigenous clothing isn’t just a new trend. It speaks to a shift in our country’s history of prejudice against the First Nations peoples. Supporting Aboriginal fashion is to support a group of marginalised people – who are finally, after centuries of struggle, getting their voices heard.