After a successful event held in Darwin in late 2020, Country to Couture will bring its exclusive runway to our TV screens with a debut broadcast made possible for the first time through NITV on Friday 22 January 2021.
A popular staple on the Darwin calendar, Country to Couture has been a key attraction, alongside the annual Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) since 2016, showcasing collections from Indigenous fashion labels as well as unique collaborations between Indigenous communities and well-known Australian labels.
The impact of COVID-19 saw DAAF innovate with a digital event in 2020, and Country to Couture has also had its own change of scene! December saw the fifth iteration of the fashion event take place at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens in Darwin, which included an intimate gathering and runway showcase on Larrakia country. It was a fantastic opportunity for the participating artists, designers, Art Centres, industry and sponsors to come together and celebrate.
After a turbulent year of lockdowns and social distancing, DAAFF’s Indigenous Fashion Projects is also excited to announce it will bring a taste of Darwin’s iconic Country to Couture to Melbourne, on Wurundjeri country, with an intimate Showcase event held exclusively for the participating designers and local fashion community.
Country to Couture celebrates the marriage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary fine art and high-end fashion. The success of the textile design movement in remote Indigenous communities has led to exciting collaborations with well-known Australian designers, which have been showcased in the Country to Couture event alongside the annual Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) since 2016.
“Country to Couture celebrates contemporary fashion and textiles from Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and designers, and recognises collaborations where Indigenous agency is at the forefront,” said Claire Summers, Executive Director, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation.
“We’re seeing fashion as a platform for cultural exchange and awareness, creating new development opportunities and pathways for our Art Centres, artists, designers and their communities.”
The annual showcase of Indigenous textile and fashion collaborations is supported by the Northern Territory Government via NT Major Events, and the iconic Australian lifestyle brand Country Road. “Following the success of the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA), Country Road is incredibly excited to work with DAAFF on Country to Couture,” said Elle Roseby, Managing Director, Country Road.
“We’re honoured to be involved in Country to Couture’s debut digital showcase, creating a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and learn from the art, design and talent of First Nations Peoples. Featuring works from Arnhem Land to the Tiwi Islands, this year’s showcase will help to share inspiring stories from all corners of Australia, and we can’t wait to hear them.”
The line-up this year features collections from across Australia including work from: Ngali (featuring artist Lindsay Malay from Warmun Art Centre), Warlukurlangu Aboriginal Corporation, Anindilyakwa Arts and Anna Reynolds, Ikuntji Artists, Liandra Swim and Bima Wear. These include unique collaborations with labels North, Magpie Goose, and Nobody Denim.
Tune in and experience the beautiful, high-end Indigenous fashion and textiles on offer at Country to Couture with a free-to-air show broadcasted on NITV on Friday 22 January at 7.00pm AEST (5.30pm ACST) – which celebrates the stories behind the six collections and offers a glimpse into the intimate showcase held in Darwin. For more information, visit: www.ifp.org.au for details.
Image: The Warlu Collection, Warlukurlangu Artists and North, Country to Couture, 2020 – photo by George F Photography