Lillardia Briggs-Houston has just been named the Fashion Designer of the Year at Australia’s fourth annual National Indigenous Fashion Awards. These awards shine a spotlight on outstanding talent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion and textile design.
The awards ceremony, hosted by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s Indigenous Fashion Projects, recently took place in Darwin, Northern Territory. Lillardia Briggs-Houston, a fashion designer and textile artist with Wiradjuri, Gangulu, and Yorta Yorta heritage based in Narrandera, New South Wales, was honored with this prestigious title. Her label, which she launched in 2019, is known for its vibrant women’s ready-to-wear collections that beautifully blend traditional South-East Aboriginal practices like carving, bush dying, and weaving with contemporary fashion. Her designs have graced the runways of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, and she’s set to embark on a 12-month mentorship program with Country Road, one of the event’s partners.
Other notable winners include the Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts Centre from East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, which clinched two awards: the Traditional Adornment Award and the Community Collaboration Award (in collaboration with Darwin environmental artist Aly de Groot). Ikuntji Artists, located in Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory, received the Business Achievement Award and made history as the first Aboriginal arts collective to stage a solo runway show at AAFW.
This year’s awards featured a record-breaking 66 nominees, highlighting the growing influence and recognition of Indigenous fashion and textiles in Australia. Michelle Maynard, the manager of Indigenous Fashion Projects, emphasized the seamless blend of traditional and contemporary practices in the winners’ work, deeply rooted in a profound connection to their country and community. These awards are a celebration of Indigenous culture and creativity at its very heart.
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