Collaboration collection between MAARA Collective fashion designer Julie Shaw and artists of the Bula'bula Aboriginal Arts Corporation, presented at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, August 7, 2019

SYDNEY — A multibrand indigenous Australian fashion showcase will be part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia’s 25-year anniversary event, which is due to run from May 11 to 15 at Sydney’s Carriageworks.

To be produced by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, in consultation with former Australian Fashion Council chief executive officer David Giles-Kaye, The Australian Indigenous Fashion Showcase will take place on Friday, May 15 at 4:30pm.

The show will be part of IMG’s recently-announced MBFWA: The Experience integrated consumer initiative, which will see approximately 25 percent of seats of participating shows at its Resort 2021 collections showcase in Sydney allocated to consumers. It is anticipated that at least 35 shows will take place.

Twelve other shows confirmed for the Resort 2021 collections’ preliminary schedule that will also take part in MBFWA: The Experience include Alice McCall, Bassike, Ginger & Smart, Steven Khalil, We Are Kindred, Ixiah, Lillian Khallouf, Mariam Seddiq and swimwear brands Matteau, Tigerlily and Aqua Blu.

Other brands confirmed for the resort 2021 schedule, whose shows will be trade-only, are Ten Pieces, Bondi Born, Aje, Anna Quan and Bec + Bridge.

Ticket sales are live on the MBFWA web site from today, with prices starting at 119 Australian dollars or $80 at current exchange and reach 239 Australian dollars or $160 for front row seats.

The indigenous showcase will be a first for the event, which has only ever seen one or two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections on its runways in its 25 year history.

The initiative arrives six years after the launch of the short-lived Australian Indigenous Fashion Week, whose organizer collapsed under debts a few months after the event was staged at Sydney Town Hall in April 2014.

In the interim, various exhibitions and festivals such as the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair have grown their fashion show content. In August, along with its regular “From Country to Couture” runway shows, the latter will launch the inaugural National Aboriginal Fashion Awards.

According to David Giles-Kaye, five indigenous designers from around Australia will be selected for the MBFWA showcase within the coming weeks by a panel of judges that will be comprised of both members of the indigenous community and the mainstream fashion sector.

“This is not the first celebration of indigenous fashion design but it is the first one at MBFWA so it’s a pretty big deal,” Giles-Kaye said. “We anticipate it growing and we just see indigenous designers as [becoming] more a part of the mainstream fashion industry and for this incredible thing that we have here, from indigenous designers, to really be given every chance that it can to grow and blossom and be taken to the world.”

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