First Nations talent set to to take centre stage at Melbourne Fashion Week

This year's Melbourne Fashion Week - which kicked off on Monday - will be a celebration of First Nations designers, models and artists.

First Nations singer Isaiah Firebrace will walk the runway at Melbourne Fashion Week

First Nations singer Isaiah Firebrace will walk the runway at Melbourne Fashion Week Source: Facebook/isaiahmusicofficial

First Nations singer Isaiah Firebrace is about to take centre stage at Melbourne Fashion Week, and he’s nervous.

“I am used to interacting with the crowd and being like, ‘hey guys, how are you going?’ But when you’re walking the runway, you just got to have a different look,” he said.

But the former winner of The X Factor Australia is excited about the opportunity, too.

“There are so many beautiful, talented First Nations people out there and knowing that they can be a part of [events like this] really gives them motivation and confidence.”

Melbourne Fashion Week kicked off in the CBD on Monday, with a series of events featuring Indigenous designers, models and artists.

Wiradjuri woman and founding member of Indigenous business collective Trading Blak, Jarin Baigent, will be part of a six-person digital panel called “Does Visibility Equal Power?” on Tuesday.

A runway show called Pop Up 2, focussing on themes of self-determination, will take place at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday.

But perhaps the biggest highlight of the week is the Fed Square Runway show on Tuesday, which will bring together five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers.

“I am walking the runway tomorrow. I have four different outfits in the Indigenous show,” Firebrace said.

“There has never been as much involvement of First Nations and Indigenous people before. So for me having my first time in fashion week and knowing that it’s very inclusive is so rad.”

Yorta Yorta and Boonwurrung woman Corina Muir is one of the designers showcasing their collections at the Fed Square Runway show.

“Historically, there’s a lot that comes into it. There’s a lot of tokenism, there’s a lot of profiting from our culture and showcasing it in quite unethical ways,” Muir said.

“But when you have Indigenous people leading and being able to showcase on platforms like this, it’s really really important.”

First Nations fashion designer Corina Muir.
Source: Supplied

First Nations labels House of Darwin, Kirrikin, Liandra Swim and Nungala Creative will also be showcasing their new collections Tuesday at Federation Square, along with Muir’s Amber Days.

“As cliched as it is, you have to see it to be able to be it,” Muir said.

“As an Aboriginal woman myself, to see really powerful Indigenous women standing up and pulling their dreams is so incredible.”

Melbourne Fashion Week 2021 runs 15-21 November.

Published 15 November 2021 at 4:00pm
By Akash Arora
Source: SBS News