• Host Rachel Hocking wears Jarawee by Briana Enoch, with models wearing the NIFA 2022 winners' designs. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The NIFAs recognised six Indigenous creatives for their innovation and designs during an intimate awards ceremony in Darwin.
Alexis Moran

5 Aug 2022 - 4:03 PM  UPDATED 5 Aug 2022 - 5:10 PM

The National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) has returned to Larrakia country in style after a two-year hiatus. 

First Nations excellence was celebrated across six categories, which saw designers and artists from across the country acknowledged for collaborative projects, traditional designs and wearable art. 

"The NIFA provides a platform that continues to gain local and global attention," said Creative Director of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Shilo McNamee. 

"It celebrates creatives throughout the industry and provides pathways and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

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Business Achievement Award- Laura Thompson, Clothing The Gaps

After launching less than three years ago, Clothing The Gaps has become a leading fashion brand known for its best-selling tees that "encourage people to wear their values". 

Co-founder of the label, Laura Thompson, is the recipient of this year's Business Achievement Award, recognising her community leadership through fashion.

As a business, Clothing The Gaps is inspiring the next generation, with over 24 young First Nations people employed on its team. 

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Fashion Designer Award- Denni Francisco, Ngali

This is Denni Francisco's second year as the recipient of the Fashion Designer Award.

The Wiradjuri designer's label Ngali has attracted significant international attention, and shone at the Indigenous Fashion Projects show during Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2022.

The award will see Ngali benefit from a continued 12-month business mentorship. 

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Traditional Adornment Award- Esther Yarllarlla

Kunibidji artist Aunty Esther lives in Maningrida and has a deep knowledge of traditional weaving and knotting.

Her award-winning woven mókko piece was commissioned by Bábbarra Women's Centre.

Mókko are made for women and are worn as day wear with an opening at the back.

Her works are often high in demand, with pieces known to sell out at Maningrida Arts and Culture Arts Centre.

Wearable Art Award- Lillardia Briggs-Houston, Ngarru Miimi

Designer Lillardia Briggs-Houston was taught her craft by her grandmother in Narrungdera on Wiradjuri Country.

Her vibrant prints and handmade garments are all created to tell a story or relive a memory from her upbringing. 

Lillardia's work has also featured in publications such as Vogue Australia, and featured in the First Nations Fashion and Design runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021.

Community Collaboration Award- Mimili Maku Arts, Linda Puna x Unreal Fur

Over an 18-month period, Linda Puna of Mimili Maku Arts and collaborators Unreal Fur created a collection of outerwear.  

In a strong two-way partnership, the collaboration ensured Aunty Linda's artwork translated appropriately to fabric prints.

Each element of the collection was developed in consultation with the Art Centre, artist and Unreal Fur. 

During the project, Aunty Linda directed a fashion shoot on Country supporting young women in Mimili Community to develop skills in photography and videography. 

Textile Design Award- Philomena Yeatman

A renowned master weaver, Aunty Philomena fuses traditional dyed pandanus and cabbage palm fibres with modern materials.

The Yarrabah artist's work has been recognised nationally, appearing in collections at the Queensland Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia.

Through her textiles, she talks about family history and brings traditional stories to life.

As part of the award, she will receive a workshop with RMIT's textile design department.

You can watch the full National Indigenous Fashion Awards on Wednesday, August 10 at 9.30pm on the NITV Facebook page.

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