Ikuntji Artists Debut Solo Show at Australian Fashion Week

May 24, 2023

A highlight of Day Four of Australian Fashion Week was a wonderful show from IKUNTJI ARTISTS, a prominent Aboriginal art centre located in the remote community of Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) in Central Australia. This debut solo show marks an historic moment for the art world in Australia and globally, as the trailblazing Ikuntji Artists became the first art centre to present a solo showcase at AAFW.

I was blown away by this unforgettable experience which brought the beauty and culture of the Western Desert to the forefront of the fashion world. The soundscape, created by Mark Coles Smith, was a work of art in itself. As we walked into the spacious Gallery Two at Carriageworks we were transported to the heart of the desert , with the sounds of the bush ringing in our ears. It was a deep reminder of the people and their powerful connection to Country and culture.

The collection showcased a remarkable synergy and cohesion, blending traditional art with modern design. There was power suiting, casual suits, twin sets, and cocktail gowns, catering to a range of occasions and personal styles. Red Carpet worthy gowns exuded sophistication and elegant artistry.

The show also stood out because of the diversity and commitment to size and age inclusivity. It was a celebration of individuality and sent a powerful message that fashion is for everyone. The entire cast was comprised of First Nations models and three of the Ikuntji communities own artists graced the catwalk.

There was a joyous energy in the air at the show and as a Brisbane writer I was proud to see some of Brisbane designer OSSOM’s designs on the runway showcasing the rich fabrics. All of the fabrics we saw on the runway can be purchased in this brilliant initiative between art and fashion. Fashion Week never ceases to surprise and inspire me and many of the looks were extremely covetable, bright and simply beautiful. It was my privilege to be there and witness this historic occasion.

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