Madeleine King and Nadia Buick of The Fashion Archives invited me to contribute to their online publication a couple of years ago.
I wrote a short essay on the evolution of Indigenous fashion. Due to the success and interest gained from the online platform, the ladies were successful in crowd funding enough money to produce a printed soft-covered book called Remotely Fashionable – a Story of Subtropical Style.
I do not have a background in fashion, however I researched the development stages of an exhibition called Flash Women in kuril dhagun. I am particularly interested in social history and my involvement with The Fashion Archives has been to reflect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connection to fashion. I researched the SLQ collection but really gained insight by interviewing Indigenous community members and getting their personal stories and thoughts on fashion.
My essay is entitled A Brief Redress of Indigenous Fashion in Queensland and I attempt to paint a picture and suggest how the social, political and cultural developments within Australian history have impacted fashion. The essay touches on traditional adornment, clothing and designs and how they reflect ‘country’.
Additionally, I mention the period of time when Aboriginal people were put onto missions and only had rationed clothing with no other choices and then the transition from assimilation to integration and adoption of the western dress styles. I concluded by highlighting ways in which contemporary Indigenous fashion still depicts cultural identity.