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8 September, 2021

A joyous celebration of culture

Before this event started the atmosphere was electric and it was wonderful to see all the designers welcoming their friends and family. I’ve been to many fashion events but this one had a different feel, one of warmth, compassion, and inclusiveness.

After the most breathtaking Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by the Gadigal people, Grace Lillian Lee, the designer and creative director of First Nations Fashion and Design, brought the South Bank Piazza alive with the first runway show featuring only First Nations talent. The show put together music, film, modern native dance, live hip hop and ceremony to produce a high-spirited, immersive experience.

The Indigenous models were absolutely stunning showcasing designs in exquisite, unique printed fabrics that ranged from swimwear to day wear, evening and more avant-garde projects in textile and design. Walking in Two Worlds captured all shapes, sizes, gender, and age ranges, celebrating inclusive beauty.

Each design told a story and was supported by a spectacular visual projection of the models cat-walking and posing in the Australian forests surrounded by beautiful native flora and fauna. It was an impressive addition to have Muggera Dance performances intertwined throughout the runway, their movements complementing the designer pieces seamlessly.

In addition to the fashion itself, the music was a true highlight. I added many of the songs to my Spotify playlist when I got home.

An absolute stand-out moment that brought a tear to my eye was when one designer, hit by the spotlight once her runway had finished, not only stood to acknowledge the performance but celebrated her achievement with traditional dance with one of her models. The audience leapt to its feet and with applause.

First Nations Fashion: Walking in Two Worlds was a magical showcase highlighting the genius of local Indigenous fashion, music, arts and was a joyous celebration of culture. I loved it.