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Indigenous designers set to showcase at 2023 Melbourne Fashion Week

Phoebe Blogg -

Featuring more than 10 Indigenous designers and a designated First Nations runway, this year Melbourne Fashion Week has returned with a progressive shift.

Althouth spotlighting the talent of First Nations designers, models and creatives is no new territory for Melbourne Fashion Week, the 2023 event will be one of the festival's largest displays of Indigenous creatives.

Whilst the week-long event is showcasing First Nations designers across various runways, the Ganbu Marra runway on the 24th of October will solely spotlight Indigenous designers.

With Melbourne Fashion Week labelling this runway as a 'visual storytelling from the oldest living culture on earth', hype surrounding the event has already gained both media and press attention.

After debuting in 2022, the Ganbu Marra runway is returning with a showcase of more than 10 First Nations designers from across Australia.

Notable designers featured include in the runway include Kamara Swim, Ginny's Girl Gang, Lazy Girl Lingerie, Clair Helen and Ihraa Swim.

"I am so thrilled and honoured to be part of this collaborative show alongside such incredible and inspiring designers," said Lazy Girl Lingerie fashion designer, Cassandra Pons.

In addition to designers, both the Ganbu Marra presentation and other runway events will see many Indigenous models take to the stage.

Whilst Melbourne Fashion Week is a returning event for many models, this year will see both established and emerging Indigenous models take to the stage.

"This will be my 3rd fashion week and I'm feeling confident this will be my best year as I've grown more confident in my walk," said model, Javadd Anderson.

Wurundjeri woman Chenile Chandler will perform the Welcome to Country alongside her grandmother Aunty Joy. Ms Chandler will also join the other Indigenous models in walking the runway at the Ganbu Marra presentation.

Kamara swim models backstage at the 2022 Ganbu Marra runway. (Image: Jacinta Keefe)

Featuring more than 600 celebrated and emerging designers and roughly 100 events, there is a lot happening off the runway as well.

This year's program will also see award-winning Indigenous brand Ngali, host its very own exclusive high tea at luxury hotel Pullman Melbourne.

Including a fashion presentation, intimate Q&A with brand founder Denni Francisco and a delicious high tea sourced from Indigenous supply chains, the guest list is extremely limited.

Models backstage at the 2022 Ganbu Marra runway. (Image: Liana Hardy)

With last years Melbourne Fashion Week contributing $23 million to the city's economy, supporting more than 1,000 jobs and significantly boosting sales for local businesses, the 2023 program and spotlight on First Nations creatives is expected to see these numbers climb.

"Melbourne Fashion Week is a staple on fashion-lovers' calendars, delivering a showstopping celebration of our incredible local creatives and designers who make us Australia's fashion capital," said Melbourne's lord mayor Sally Capp.

"We're expecting more than 110,000 attendees across the program. We're delivering runways throughout the day and late afternoon, as well as the evening, to maximise the benefits for our city traders."

Melbourne Fashion Week's 2023 Ambassador Ayesha Madon. (Image: Supplied)

Australian actor, singer, and star of Netflix series Heartbreak High, Ayesha Madon will bring her iconic style to the front row as Melbourne Fashion Week's official 2023 Ambassador.

With Madon holding a mixed ethnic background of Asian descent she too is thrilled to see the year's program spotlight the culture and craft of all creatives.

"I am honoured and excited to be part of Melbourne Fashion Week 2023. Fashion has always been a passion of mine and I can't wait to embrace this role and collaborate with the incredible local artists, innovators and talent involved," Melbourne Fashion Week Ambassador, Ayesha Madon said.

"I look forward to being part of an event that truly celebrates and showcases the creativity and diversity of the local fashion industry."

Melbourne Fashion Week will run from the 23 to 29 October. The Ganbu Marra runway will take place on 24 October at THE LUME Melbourne.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.mfw.melbourne.vic.gov.au.

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