• The contest's winning design, which has been withdrawn following accusations of cultural appropriation. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
An underwear label has apologised for its handling of a bra design project, and removed works which failed to credit the traditional custodians of the land.
Stephanie Corsetti

8 Apr 2021 - 3:50 PM  UPDATED 8 Apr 2021 - 5:37 PM

Under garment company Berlei has apologised for overlooking Indigenous elements in the design selected for its bra contest, saying it had learned a valuable lesson.

The print was submitted by a non-Aboriginal artist and later scrapped the image, and Berlei said they made a mistake in choosing it. 

Yarli Creative director Madison Connors said she wanted to call out this conduct because it has been happening across the arts sector, and often goes unnoticed. 

"One of the bra designs actually had incorporated Aboriginal symbols in it and it was quite subtle as well," she said

Ms Connors said the symbol represented a camp-site and a star, with many users on social media slamming the brand for cultural appropriation.

"As Aboriginal artists, we know these symbols, they are sacred to our art and our practises and for non-Aboriginal people to use those, it's really offensive," Ms Connors said. 

She said she has been contacted online about other cases of artwork with copied symbols, which she argued will detract from authentic Aboriginal art. 

"There are so many instances of people profiting off Aboriginal culture for their own gain," Ms Connors said. 

Ms Connors said she wants the company's learnings to be put into action, such as having Aboriginal judges as part of future art competitions.

"It is problematic for our community, it is problematic for our culture because then it is downplayed, it's not understood and it's not seen as something that is sacred, it's just commercialised," she said. 

Ms Connors also suggested commissioning an Aboriginal artist to produce works as she pushed for the company to be more diverse and inclusive. 

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