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Fresh Indigenous designs from Kirrikin paraded on red-dirt airport runway

David Prestipino -

Aboriginal cultural festival The Karijini Experience took fashion to the stunning Kalamina Gorge in 2021 with a striking parade highlighting Aboriginal fashion and Indigenous models.

In 2024 the event will see new Indigenous designs paraded on an altogether different albiet scene runway - the aircraft landing runway in the heart of Karijini National Park.

Luxury fashion brand Kirrikin Australia will launch its new Evoke Collection - featuring everything from elegant dresses to tailored suits - which draws inspiration from the ancient traditions and storytelling of Noongar culture and its array of colours from the South West.

The collection is a collaboration from three of Western Australia’s most experienced designers and artists, in Amanda Healy (Kirrikin Australia), Keira Gentle (Gentle Designs) and Buffie Punch (Buffie Creative).

Ms Healy said the unique show connected the expertise of individuals deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of Indigenous artistry and storytelling, each with flair for sleek, tailored designs.

“The Evoke Collection is a celebration of heritage and contemporary creativity," she said.

"Each piece in the collection is a testament to the shared vision of the designers and artists, who have come together to infuse Indigenous artistry with modern design sensibilities.

All models on the runway in 2024 will be Indigenous, with about half from Banjima locals.

A proud Wonnarua woman, Ms Healy founded Kirrikin Australia in 2014, feeling the industry needed Indigenous representation on the runways as well as the shoulders of everyday people doing everyday things.

In the decade since, Kirrikin has evolved to one of Australia's most beloved and inspired Indigenous-owned brands, with a social enterprise committed to supporting Indigenous communities through collaborating with local artists on designs and then profit sharing from sales.

Keira Gentle, a Wadjuk and Balardong designer who has collaborated with Kirrikin Australia on the Evoke collection, will join Buffie Punch, the proud Noongar woman from Albany known for her unique jewellery pieces and special collection of artwork “Boodja” and “Gungarra” in collaboration with Kirrikin that's showcased on the label’s luxury fabrics.

Previous fashion designs from Banjima artists will be displayed on mannequins in a static display, which will be on show for the entire festival. 

As well as the fashion extravaganza, Kirrikin will host a music and question-and-answer session.

The fashion show is part of the four-day Karijini Experience, which has a packed program of high-quality arts and cultural experiences designed to forge connections between visitors and the Banjima people, as well as the awe-inspiring landscape of Karijini National Park.

The Kirrikin Fashion Show is a free event on Saturday 6 April from 7-7.30pm.

For more information on The Karijini Experience, go to www.karijiniexperience.com

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