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Ikuntji Artists announced as 2024 National Designer Award finalist

Phoebe Blogg -

Striving to celebrate Australia's top-performing emerging designers, the National Designer Award is returning for yet another year.

Now entering its 28th year, the award's past winners include some of the biggest names in Australian fashion including Christopher Esber, Dion Lee, Romance Was Born, Alémais, P.E. Nation, Toni Maticevski and Strateas Carlucci.

Presented by David Jones in partnership with Melbourne Fashion Festival, this week finalists in the running to receive the award were announced, and to both the community and Art Centre's excitement, the popular Indigenous Art Centre, Ikuntiji Artists was announced as a 2024 finalist.

Commending the creativity and excellence of Australian fashion designers in their first year of business, the National Designer Award is something Ikuntji Artists have not yet been recognised or nominated for until now. As Australia's most established and prestigious fashion award program, the National Designer Award also provides finalists with opportunities for mentorship, networking and critical industry and exposure.

Ikuntji Atrtists on the 2023 Country to Couture runway. (Image: Michael Jalaru Torres)

This year the People's Choice Award – running alongside the National Designer Award –allows fashion enthusiasts and consumers to also get involved and vote for their favourite designer. By submitting an online vote consumers are taking charge of who they believe should receive the award and be commended for their talent and efforts.

With finalists and one winner chosen by a panel of esteemed industry judges, the winner will be selected by identifying which designer best demonstrates vision and cohesion in creativity and design; adherence to high-quality manufacturing standards; high attention to detail; strong business acumen; and a genuine commitment to addressing environmental and social impact. 

The final prize consists of a $20,000 cash reward in addition to high-value business development support that provides the winner with the resources needed to assist in growing both their brand and business.

Media personality Brooke Blurton wearing Ikuntji Artists. (Image: Instagram @brooke.blurton)

Based in the remote Aboriginal community of Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff), NT Ikuntji Artists is a not-for-profit, Aboriginal art centre, originally established in 1992 as the first Indigenous art centre in the Western Desert by women and for women. Created as an inclusive space, in which experimentation and innovation is fostered, the textiles created by Ikuntji Artists inspire makers around the world to be innovative and create bespoke wearable art.

Having already had a wealth of success including – but not limited to – appearing on numerous runways across the globe, being worn by several celebrities and high-profile media personalities and winning multiple business awards, Iktjunki Artists are in with a high chance of adding to their winnings and taking home the 2024 National Designer Award.

The National Designer Award winner will be announced of March 6th 2024.

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