BTS: The Indigenous Projects Show Will Inspire Your Summer Wardrobe

Gadigal Land

— June 19, 2023 —

The dust has only just settled after a busy schedule of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week shows last month. We’re still riding the high of a glorious week of fun fashion and cute people — so we’re going to prolong the joy of the once-a-year event — with these BTS snaps our friend Lexi Laphor captured backstage at the Indigenous Fashion Projects show.

Not only that, but we also managed to sneak into the dms of two of the talented designers to ask them about their fashion week experience, favourite highlights and how they’re feeling after the momentous week.

ICYDK the Indigenous Fashion Projects is an initiative from the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation and supported by David Jones, Afterpay and IMG Australia; which, alongside the IFP Pathways Program, is a super important launch pad for First Nations designers. 

Scroll down to meet Cassandra Pons of LazyGirlLingerie and Naomi Collings from KAMARA, and once you’ve perused the gallery above, click here to watch the show and see every look that walked the runway last month.

Cassandra Pons

How are you feeling after your AAFW runway show? 
Feeling on such a high after the show, it was such a dream to be part of, and so overwhelmed (in the best way possible) with the support from my community and the wider fashion community for the showcase. 

What is the fashion week experience like?
Incredible! Fashion Week was a whirlwind of fittings, shows, last-minute antics creating and finalising looks, and so inspiring being around so many creatives in their true element. 

When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
Since I was a little girl, I had a business with my best friend when I was 10, The Bunny Business, where I designed clothing for the bunnies and sold them in the playground - I guess that was my first dive into the world of fashion and business!

Did you have a particular person in mind when designing this collection?
Homecoming is a collection inspired by my heritage as First Nations Waayni woman, as well as an ode to inspiring women to come home to themselves.  The collection feels bold and powerful, infusing these feelings into my designs, knowing Lazy Girls can adorn themselves in these feelings too when wearing Lazy Girl Lingerie. This speaks to the female empowerment ethos of the brand,  encouraging women to be themselves unapologetically and how doing so serves as a permission slip for other women to do the same. Together we rise!

If your brand was a song: 'Backseat of My Mind' Thelma Plum.

What are you most excited about for 2024? 
Growing the brand, new collaborations, collections and adventures


Naomi Collings

How are you feeling after your AAFW runway show?
Inspired, we are still riding the buzz. It's been exciting receiving the positive feedback since our runway - we're grateful for all of the love!
Thankful my Dad attended to experience the runway show from the front row. I left Sydney excited that First Nations unique and vital contribution to Australian Fashion is being recognised, and the future of Australian Fashion is brighter because of it. Seeing a more inclusive and elevated representation of First Nations Design and Culture fills me with hope. 

What is the fashion week experience like?
The AAFW experience was fantastically overwhelming in a positive way. Full full week. Myself and fellow Designers were able to utilise the AAFW platform to make our mark, attend networking for industry professionals, and contribute to the ongoing growth and recognition of First Nations contributions to Australian Fashion on a global stage. 

When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
For me, it was when I recognised that there was a gap in the sun protection space and I believed I could create better design options and messaging for consumers.

Did you have a particular person in mind when designing this collection?
I start all collections with a feeling or a solution I want the wearer to experience. The design process for UNIVERSE began with the goal of creating pieces that celebrate and cultivate the positivity that comes from escaping to and nurturing your own universe. I wanted to give buyers more options to experience KAMARA by expanding the range to introduce a sarong and jumpsuit. During development, we grew nebula palettes of Onyx and Shell; explored prints inspired by escapism, flight and Galaxies, all with our rich stretch fabrics to encase the endless optimism in your own UNIVERSE.

If your brand was…
A movie: Wonderwoman
A song: 'Run the world (girls)'

A place: The Beach
A YouTube video: "How much sun protection do I need"

What are you most excited about for 2024?
Releasing the UNIVERSE collection this Spring. 
While we're thrilled to expand the range to include exciting new styles that take leisure time to new heights. We're most proud to introduce a special collaboration print - Birth of Earth. 'Every KAMARA piece is created to empower those who wear KAMARA and work with us,' says KAMARA Creative Director Naomi Collings. 'For the UNIVERSE collection, we're honoured to feature a collaboration print with Yaggerah Aboriginal artist, and my Aunty, Jenine Godwin-Thompson. "This has been a special opportunity to work with family. Our values underpin our work, and strong family and community connections are important to KAMARA. We draw inspiration from the inspiring creatives around us, and Aunty Jenine is an incredible talent and important figure in our universe.' Jenine draws inspiration from where she is from, Meeanjin (Brisbane), and where she grew up, in remote northwest Queensland city of Mount Isa, as well as the many Aboriginal communities throughout northern and north-western Queensland where her research/work has taken her. She now calls Healesville, in the beautiful Yarra Valley Victoria, home. 'My work is from the heart,' says Jenine. 'I love creating works from my experiences and travels into remote communities.


Photos: Lexi Laphor

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which this show took place.


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