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Style Up catches up with First Nations designer Julie Shaw post Melbourne Fashion Festival

Phoebe Blogg -

No one puts a luxe First Nations spin on resort/ready-to-wear garments quite like talented Yuwaalaraay founded and Creative Director, Julie Shaw.

After launching her collaboratively led successful fashion brand MAARA Collective with great success, today the talented creative is a hard woman to catch. From design room meetings to Australia-wide runways and appearance, Shaw is definitely not one who waits for opportunities to come to her.

With a range of fresh projects in the works and the news of a new collection, Style Up caught up with the First Nations designer just after her brand’s (MAARA Collective) runway presentation at PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival.  

Always aiming to add more to the brand, extend its product range and bring new and niche ideas to the team, Shaw shares that the last few months have been extremely busy for the MAARA Collective team.

“Over the past months, myself and the team have been working hard developing the new collection that’s just shown at Melbourne Fashion Festival. We’ve been building out the ranges to add more styles and product categories, introducing new fabrications and techniques like embroidery and beading to continually grow, evolve and elevate each collection, Shaw told Style Up.”  

“This was our third year showing at Melbourne Fashion Festival, and it’s always an honour to be invited back to showcase the brand among so many incredible Australian designers. We love connecting with our Melbourne audience and seeing our Melbourne designer friends and family like the guys from Mob in Fashion. To go along and support their show this year was a highlight of the week for us.”  

Julie Shaw at PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival. (Image: Supplied)


Thrilled to have been able to share the runway with several other equally successful First Nations designers and brands – including Gali Swimwear,  Joseph & James, Amber Days and more – Shaw says the industry needs more of the opportunities that provide First Nations creatives a platform to voice and showcase their work.

“I was so excited to see the number of First Nations designers presenting this year. As designers and artists we have so much to say and share creatively, and it’s really important to see our presence throughout the entire week of shows in the MFF schedule,” she said.

MAARA Collective on the MFF. (Image: Lucas Dawson) 



(Image: Lucas Dawson) 


When speaking on MARRA Collective’s recent presentation at Paypal Melbourne Fashion Festival (MFF), Shaw shared that the brand was thrilled to have been able to showcase their new in collaboration with Kaytetye artist Caroline Numina.

“This year for MFF we presented our brand new collection, which had not yet been seen, for the upcoming Spring/Summer season. For feature prints, we’ve collaborated with Kaytetye artist Caroline Numina, an artist from the Utopia region of the Central Desert, and licensed her works through Copyright Agency Australia,” she said.  

Typically creating garments in a variety of high-end yet approachable garments, for this collection Shaw has utilised the same approach whilst seamlessly filtering in Numina’s, ‘Medicine Leaves’ print.

“Her amazing ‘Medicine Leaves’ print has translated so beautifully onto premium silk and linen fabrications, which we’ve interpreted into modern suiting and our signature flowing silk dresses and separates. It’s such a beautiful, feminine print showcasing incredible use of colour, and it just sits so well with our design aesthetic, said Shaw.   

Post MFF, the womenswear designer admits that whilst she is eager to return to her home in Sydney, she always factors in some time to explore her surroundings and enjoy the trip as a mix of work and pleasure.

“I’m based in Sydney, but I always book a couple of extra days in Melbourne after the fashion festival to relax and unwind after the busy lead-up to the show, and to soak in everything that beautiful Melbourne has to offer. Once back in Sydney, it’s all go,” she said.

(Image: Lucas Dawson) 



When turning to the future, and further plans for MAARA and its expansion, Shaw is confident in keeping the success of the brand going with continual business plans and projects, both locally and overseas.

“Next stage is the business side; selling and manufacturing the new collection. Also, a continuation of our business development program, plus design of the upcoming ranges. I’m heading home to Lightning Ridge in the next few weeks for a short trip to see the family, then planning out some international travel in the second half of the year for market research and to work on our export strategy, which is very exciting,” Shaw told Style Up.

With all that and more expected to roll out this year, Julie Shaw and MAARA Collective team are bound to impress fashion goers, critics and media worldwide.


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