The project started in Melbourne four years ago after founder Tina Waru ran a make-up class for young Indigenous people and they suggested adding fashion to the mix.
Since then more than 700 people have taken part in workshops, mentoring programs and runway events in Australia and overseas.
Ms Waru said the idea was sparked when she attended a major fashion show a number of years ago.”We sat up in that audience, looked down on the fashion runway and said ‘one day that’s going to be us’,” she said.
Red carpets have been awash with brilliantly buff and polished skin for years now.
Since that infamous moment when Cher donned THAT creation (pictured below if you need reminding) there seems to have been a race, each time a red carpet is rolled out, to show as much skin as possible.
But this year, I am happy to say lashings of skin collided beautifully with bling resulting in good old style. I mean, hardly a red carpet runner relied on cheap tricks to grab the attention of us mere observers.
From Margot Robbie, who looked like a gold Logie, I mean Oscar, in her deeply plunging Tom Ford gown and Forevermark diamonds. Then there was Jennifer Lawrence, who wore a Dior, verging on up-market bordello, lace dress that made seeing so much skin ultra sleek and cool.
“That’s what we are striving for, to increase the representation of Indigenous people in the fashion industry worldwide.” This year, for the first time, they are part of the fashion festival’s core program.
The project brings together Indigenous cultures from all around the world including Native Americans, New Zealand Maori and Canadian First Nation. “Speaking to young people, they don’t know how to get into this industry and what we are doing is proving them a pathway to launch a career in fashion,” Ms Waru said.
“It’s so inspiring to see young Indigenous talent thriving towards their goals.” It has been an invaluable experience for model Tobi Sam-Morris.
“It has been amazing being with other Indigenous models from all around the world, it’s incredible, learning about different cultures,” she said. The Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, said it was exciting to see Indigenous Victorians expressing their cultural heritage.
“Our first people were the first creatives of this country and our emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers are leading the way,” Mr Foley said.Fourteen designers will take part in the show along with models, hair and make-up artists and backstage crew. The runway event will take place at on March 8 at the Melbourne Museum.