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Indigenous businesswoman Corina Muir changing the world, one piece of clothing at a time

Brendan Foster -

While getting international recognition for her sustainable clothing is wonderful, seeing young Indigenous kids wearing the designs brings the most joy to First Nations businesswoman Corina Muir.

The proud Yorta Yorta/Boonwurrung woman started her Indigenous fashion label Amber Days just five years ago but is already a regular at the Melbourne Fashion Week and the Melbourne Fashion Festival, and has appeared in British Vogue.

The Melbourne-based designer said her biggest thrill was seeing her clothing range appear in the Australian Fashion Week in 2021.

"I'd never been to the Australia Fashion Week, let alone have my clothes in it," she laughed.

"We started as a children's label and then got my first women's collection showcased at Australian Fashion Week which was insane.

"But for me, the best part is when people send me photos of their brand new babies wrapped in our label. Knowing I am connecting kids to country and culture from the beginning, is the most meaningful experience."

The 34-year-old said the designs are inspired by her connection to the bush, desert and sea and her passion for the environment.

She often collaborates with First Nations artists for her collections and uses local and ethically sourced fabrics for all her clothes.

"I started the business because I wanted to share Aboriginal culture and particularly showcase female Aboriginal artists," she told National Indigenous Times.

"It's always a beautiful way of not only showcasing their work but it's also a nice process of working together and sharing our cultural stories.

"I am also continuously researching the best fabrics and their impacts on the environment - both negatively and positively on the environment.

"The previous collection we showcased at the Melbourne Fashion Week was made out of organic hemp and we often also use organic linens and cotton."

Ms Muir said running a fashion label comes with many challenges, including making sure the seasonal collections go out on time.

She said getting a $50,000 grant from Creative Australia's Flourish III Fund was a game changer for her business.

Creative Australia – the federal government's principal arts investment and advisory body – invests almost $500,000 through Flourish 111, for First Nations individuals, groups and organisations working in the textile design and fashion sector.

"When you are creating collections six to 12 months ahead of time, you don't get those collections out on time, particularly when you're a small business," Ms Muir said.

"Then if you have limited funds and limited people working on it that pushes the process out further.

"Getting the funding means for the first time in five years, if everything goes to plan, we are going to release a collection on time in the right season, at the right time."

Ms Muir said while female Indigenous entrepreneurs are slowly getting the recognition they deserve, there are still a few hurdles to jump in the male-dominated world of business.

"I've always been passionate about the inequality that women face around having a stable income that is meaningful and works around family, culture and all those different obligations," she said.

"Sometimes you will have conversations in a group with business owners and there have been times when people do not even remember what my business does.

"'Do you sell children's books?' is what I usually get. Then I started to see some amazing women start up in business and watch them speak on the purpose behind the business, which is inspirational."

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