8 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Fashion Brands You Should Know

Olivia Williams

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion designers and brands give both mob and allies a unique way to support our community.

We as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are proud people.

We love to rep our community, our culture, and our identity. There are lots of allies who are committed to supporting our people as well.

When you buy from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion brands, you’re providing us all with the opportunity to financially support Indigenous peoples and communities, while also giving us a piece of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture to wear proudly on our bodies.

Image via Gammin Threads

 

Gammin Threads Indigenous Australian Fashion

Here are just a handful of my favourite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion brands.

*It is important to note that not all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander merchandise is appropriate for non-indigenous people to wear.

Clothing the Gap Indigenous Australian Fashion

1. CLOTHING THE GAP

Clothing The Gap is an Aboriginal owned and led social enterprise based on Wurundjeri Country (Melbourne).

The name “Clothing The Gap” is a play on “Closing the Gap”, the Australian Government initiative to close the gap in health, education, and employment outcomes between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Clothing The Gap strives to unite Indigenous and non-indigenous people through fashion and causes by producing merchandise appropriate for both mob and allies.

Plus, Clothing The Gap supports Spark Health Australia by giving 100% of profits to support them develop and deliver Aboriginal health promotion and education programs throughout Victoria.

Indigenous Australian Fashion Swimwear

2. LIANDRA SWIM

For cozzies, Liandra Swim is my go-to.

Founded by Yolngu sis, Liandra Gaykamangu, Liandra Swim brings Aboriginal culture to swimwear. Liandra Swim gives mob and allies a unique opportunity to represent and wear a piece of Aboriginal culture. Also, pieces are sold individually so you can mix and match your favourites.

What I really love about Liandra Swim is that they keep our cultural value of caring for Country at the heart of their brand.

Liandra Swim is actively pursuing more sustainable and eco-friendly practices in their production, distribution, and engagement, and are transparent about their processes.

Gammin Threads Indigenous Australian Fashion

3. GAMMIN THREADS

Gammin Threads is a fun, fresh, colourful brand founded by Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Boonwurrung & Mutti Mutti sis, Tahnee Edwards.

Gammin Threads show love and respect for Aboriginal culture, women, and identity with many of their pieces paying homage to the Aboriginal matriarchy and Sistahood.

Gammin Threads is also known for being a little bit cheeky; one tee embraces skinny ankles mob and another reminds us that Aunty’s don’t play.

My personal fav Gammin Threads piece is the clever celebration of a blakfulla pantry staple, Keen’s Blakfulla Curry Powder.

Maara Collective Indigenous Australian Fashion

4. MAARA COLLECTIVE

Another Aboriginal brand to keep your eye on is MAARA Collective. Founded and directed by Yuwaalaraay sis, Julie Shaw. ‘Maara’ translates to ‘hands’ in Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay language. In 2019, MAARA’s Resort ’20 Collection debuted in the ‘From Country to Couture’ runway show at the Darwin Art Fair. This collection was a collaborative effort between Julie and artists of Bula’bula Arts in Ramingining, northeast Arnhem Land.

MAARA engages with Aboriginal talent throughout the business wherever possible from models, photographers, and graphic designers to sales and marketing consultants.

Also, MAARA partners with Buy1Give1 initiative and so MAARA purchases also support digital skills training and education to remote Aboriginal communities.

All MAARA’s pieces available on the website are designed by Julie – however, pro-tip: watch this space for exciting collaborations coming from MAARA this Summer!

Ngali Indigenous Australian Fashion Designer

5. NGALI

I only recently found Ngali but it is a brand that I already love.

Founded by Wiradjuri woman Denni Francisco, Ngali showcases emerging and talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists by bringing their artwork to life on premium-quality clothing and homewares.

Transparency in the art sector is important, and Ngali recognises this by offering honest and clear information about each of the artists they engage. As you explore their collection you can learn the meaning behind each piece and the story of the artists who created it.

To protect Country, Ngali works on a just-in-time manufacturing mindset to reduce waste and actively work to reduce our carbon footprint.

Indigenous Grapevine Australian Fashion

6. INDIGENOUS GRAPEVINE APPAREL

Indigenous Grapevine Apparel is a brand that unapologetically celebrates and showcases the pride of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Indigenous Grapevine has got the whole family covered – from bub through to Nan – with t-shirts, hoodies, rompers, and more celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, identity, and family.

Indigenous Grapevine also keeps community in mind with a portion of profits from each sale donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Ginnys Girl Gang Indigenous Australian Fashion

7. GINNY’S GIRL GANG

Ginny’s Girl Gang’s motto – “jackets with a voice” – really does capture the heart of this brand.

Founded by Gamilaraay sis, Regina ‘Ginny’ Jones, Ginny’s Girl Gang creates deadly, custom jackets with powerful statements of pride, strength, and identity.

Originally from Tamworth NSW, Ginny now lives in the United States although she remains strongly connected and involved in the Aboriginal community.

Some of Ginny’s jackets have featured quotes such as: “I pay my respects to the Traditional Owners”, “Royalty inside my DNA”, and “Existing on stolen land”. You may have spotted comedian Celeste Barber wearing one of Ginny’s ‘Always was Always Will Be’ jackets at the Fire Fight Australia concert earlier this year.

Take pride Movement Indigenous Australian Fashion

8. TAKE PRIDE MOVEMENT

Founded by Wiradjuri brother, Benjamin Thomson, TAKE PRIDE MOVEMENT seeks to bring all people together to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

TAKE PRIDE MOVEMENT gives a voice to fashion and provides mob and allies with eye-catching apparel to show their support.

When browsing their website be sure to check out the product’s description, they are well-considered and informative.

For non-indigenous friends of our community, the ‘Sovereignty Never Ceded’ tee is a great one to show your support for our community. Of course it’s a good one for mob too, I proudly wear mine in yellow.

Also, stay tuned because new hoodies are on their way.

Olivia Williams

Olivia Williams is a Wiradjuri woman and the founder of the Instagram page BlakBusiness. Olivia was born and raised on Biripi country, studied in Narrm (Melbourne) and now lives on Ngunnawal Country. BlakBusiness is a space that brings together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander information, history, politics, creators, voices and more, in an accessible way for all.