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David Leslie's GALI Swimwear makes a splash during Aus Fashion Week

Emma Ruben -

GALI Swimwear is only seven months old, but former lifeguard David Leslie has already seen his brand walk in its first fashion week.

GALI, alongside six other First Nations brands, debuted collections on Wednesday night during the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) Runway.

Leslie, a Kamilaroi man, said he started the brand to spark conversation, which is what they've seen since they launched.

"That's kind of what we've been seeing in the last several months, getting a lot of really positive feedback from customers and from community in terms of the actual designs and the actual product," he said.

"And it has sparked a lot of conversations and created those connections that we've been wanting since we launched.

"We've shared our culture and shared our stories with people living in 13 different countries around the world, which is phenomenal."

A model wears GALI Swimwear during the IFP runway. (Image: Rob Hookey)

A model wears GALI Swimwear during the IFP runway. (Image: Rob Hookey)

A model wears GALI Swimwear during the IFP runway. (Image: Rob Hookey)

A model wears GALI Swimwear during the IFP runway. (Image: Rob Hookey)

The new collection he debuted on the runway is a collaboration between himself and artist Pauline Napangardi Gallagher from the Warlukurlangu Artists.

The prints tell Gallagher's Jukurrpa (dreaming) story, the desert fringe-rush seed dreaming.

New to the runway this year is the inclusion of briefs and other shapes.

"The collection is going to showcase our classic-style brief," Leslie said.

"I've been working on a new racer-style brief and resort-style shorts, or board shorts. And I've been working on beach towels so there should be a variety of silhouettes."

While it's their first Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW), Leslie does not plan to stop here.

A model wears GALI Swimwear during the IFP runway. (Image: Rob Hookey)

A model wears GALI Swimwear during the IFP runway. (Image: Rob Hookey)

He's hoping to continue expanding past Australian shores and drive brand awareness overseas.

"The next thing for us is the northern hemisphere summer," he said.

"Looking at America, we've already had a lot of customers from America buying our swimwear and some countries across Europe.

"So looking at increasing our awareness and sharing our stories and culture overseas, that's going to be a big, big focus for GALI over the coming months."

Upon the model's final walk, Leslie's collection garnered one of the loudest cheers during the IFP show, a hint what is hopefully to come for Leslie and his brand.

AAFW concludes May 19.


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