Menswear designers are few and far between when it comes to Australian fashion. And there are even less in the First Nations fashion space.
Gooreng Gooreng and South Sea Islander woman Juanita Page is changing all this with her menswear label JOSEPH & JAMES.
The founder is one of two designers who presented menswear collections in the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway during Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW).
Despite owning a men's fashion label, Page was initially drawn to big gowns and red carpet dresses.
Slowly she began to notice there were a lot more designs and labels for women, but not others.
"It made me consider the alternatives you know, who was designing for people other than women?" she said.
"That kind of questioning definitely was the catalyst for change in my design direction because initially it was womenswear.
"From that place I started designing menswear but I really found that I favoured tailoring and would often enjoy designing a blazer or a tailored overcoat type thing with different and interesting design details."
And this much is true as Page's designs on the runway were a mixture of slouchy street silhouettes coupled with more tailored, structured pants and jackets.
Current collections in the JOSEPH & JAMES range are divided into parts, with additions being made throughout the years.
Page debuted Part II of the JOSEPH & JAMES collection on the runway Thursday night.
While Part I is all about the notion of "refined ambition" and underpins the essence of the brand, the Part II collection titled 'daydream' is a shift in focus to embody celebration and escapism.
"I titled it daydream because it was a dual response to personally living through the multiple lockdowns we had in Melbourne and also bringing attention to the importance of taking pauses in our journeys, whether they're collective or individual," Page said.
"And it speaks to the importance of balance as well like taking those moments to rest and celebrate the wonder and possibilities that lie in the daydream of escape.
"We've got some original prints, which really bring a freshness and also adding pops of colour to the other pops that we had in Part I of the yellow."
Despite having only showed her collection Thursday, Page is already working on a new edition, Part III, which will be launched next year at Australian Fashion Week.
She said she hopes last night's show will be a catalyst in getting the brand's name out there and bringing in a new market for JOSEPH & JAMES but also more menswear designers.
"I'm sure there's more people designing menswear that we just don't even know about yet," she said.
I hope that people seeing David (of Gali Swim) and I as part of the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects runway are inspired to get out there and get their work in front of people.
"So hopefully it inspires others not to do the same, but to explore their options."
AAFW concludes May 19.