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First Nations designers set to showcase at Australian Fashion Week for David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects runway

Phoebe Blogg -

Returning in 2024 for its fourth year, the Indigenous Fashion Projects runway has revealed the talented designers, brands and labels that will be taking to the stage at this year’s Australian Fashion Week, Indigenous Fashion Projects runway.

This year men’s swimwear label, GALI Swimwear; women’s swimwear brand, Ihraa Swim; ready-to-wear menswear label, JOSEPH & JAMES; lingerie favourite, Lazy Girl Lingerie; and art and lifestyle brand, Miimi & Jiinda will all take to the stage to showcase and celebrate the artistic talent and creativity coming from First Nations designers, communities and artists.  

Together on Gadigal country these designers will showcase their latest collections with not one, but two runway shows; an exciting first for the program giving each designer the chance to showcase their collections in an industry-only event, followed by a runway for the general public.

With this Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) runway at Fashion Week being a part of the IFP Pathways Program for 2024, the IFP team and program partner David Jones are thrilled to see this aspect of the program return for yet another year.

Nurturing and overseeing the designs of seven First Nations creatives, with five showcasing their designs at Australian Fashion Week (AFW) is a significant part of the program which has lead to many designers furthering their success within the industry.  

“We are looking forward to a beautiful runway for 2024. As our designers present their new collections, their stories are woven together inspired by land and waters, memory, culture and our people. Our show brings together our way of being, In Relation Way, said Indigenous Fashion projects manager, Michelle Maynard.

Gali Swimwear designer David Leslie. (Image: supplied) 
Ihraa Swim designer Nat Dann. (Image: Indigenous Fashion Projects) 

Founded by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation in 2020, the IFP Pathways Program is a two-year fashion label development program in partnership with David Jones.

The program strives to empower and support the growth of First Nations designers through workshops and mentorships with David Jones and established Australian designers, including Bassike, Bondi Born, ESSE, Alemais, Papinelle, Blanca and Jac + Jack.

The program has played a significant role in allowing the chance for emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers to be represented in the fashion industry on a national and international stage; with many previous participants having gone on to showcase their works on the covers of leading magazines and runways, including IFP alumni Liandra Gaykamangu of Liandra Swim, who notably will be presenting her own standalone runway at AFW this season. 

David Jones general manager of womenswear, footwear and accessories, Bridget Veals said the IFP Pathways Program has played a vital role in David Jones ongoing commitment to supporting and advocating for a fashion industry that is more inclusive and representative of First Nations design, culture and storytelling.

“The IFP Pathways Program is a proud part of David Jones’ ongoing commitment to supporting diverse design perspectives and working towards a future fashion industry that is more inclusive and representative of First Nations design and cultures,” Ms Veals said.

“We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation and of the Indigenous Fashion Projects’ role in facilitating the development of these designers through cross-cultural exchange and mentorship.

“Our talented designers have been exposed to an incredible amount of guidance and mentorship over the past two years, and their final showcase at Australian Fashion Week will be an exciting chance to see their visions come to life as we round-out their program.”

Founder of Lazy Girl Lingerie, Cassandra Pons. (Image: Indigenous Fashion Projects) 
Miimi & Jiinda founders Melissa Greenwood and Lauren Jarrett. (Image: Indigenous Fashion Projects) 

Founder and designer of JOSEPH & JAMES and proud Gooreng Gooreng and South Sea Islander woman, Juanita Page, explained how the program has and continues to provide her and her brand with amazing opportunities for connection, community and growth.

“Showcasing at Australian Fashion Week in 2023 as part of the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway opened an opportunity for some really wonderful conversations, connections and learnings. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this runway again in 2024 and am looking forward to seeing where implementing what I’ve learned over the past 18 months will take us as a brand,” Ms Page said.

Whilst fellow designers and IFP Pathways participants Gammin Threads and Kamara will not be showcasing their designs on the runway this season, customers can expect to see their collections later this year when they land in-store at the IFP Pathways Program Pop-Up at David Jones’s Elizabeth Street Flagship.

Joseph & James founder Juanita Page. (Image: Indigenous Fashion Projects)  

Destined to make fashion industry headlines for yet another year, hype surrounding the celebrated showcase is only building.

As designers continue to prep for the event’s runway, those wishing to attend are encouraged to secure tickets sooner rather than later as this is bound to be a sell-out spectacle.

The 2024 IFP Pathways Program participants’ second showcase will be held during Australian Fashion Week, presented by Pandora on Thursday 16 May, in Gallery I at Carriageworks with the first runway at 7:00pm (by invitation only) followed by the general public event at 8:30pm AEST.

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