• The Birrimbi Dulgu Bajal show. (Cairns Indigenous Art Fair)Source: Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Fashion from far north Queensland is for the first time getting shown at the Australian Melbourne Fashion Festival on Thursday.
Andrea Booth

2 Mar 2016 - 11:50 AM  UPDATED 2 Mar 2016 - 5:58 PM

The Birrimbi Dulgu Bajal (Sea and Rainforest Dreaming) will parade garments inspired by the Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforests of Yalanji region at the prestigious Melbourne fashion festival.

Birrimbi Dulgu Bajal curator Grace Lillian Lee says the show will have a strong cultural focus.

"My inspiration for the fashion performance comes from empowering young women and men to connect with their lineage through art fashion and movement," she says.

But she adds it's as much about sharing.

"All of the garments that you’ll be seeing on the catwalk are produced by communities and family members for the youth to be connecting with their culture in this really contemporary way through this new platform of sharing culture."

The collection encompasses handcrafted textiles that use felting techniques from Mornington Island, hand dyed silk fabrics, feathers and beading, and wood embellished weaving that is central to traditional Yalanji culture.

The show was part of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair held last year.

Art fair artistic director Janina Harding says some of the models have left their country for the first time to showcase the collection.

"The Virgin Australian Melbourne Fashion Festival opportunity for some of the models represents not only exposure but a sense of the unknown as they embark on their first time out of their paradisiacal homelands."  

The models will grace the catwalk as part of the fashion festival cultural program on Thursday at the Showtime Events Centre, South Wharf in Melbourne.