Melbourne Fashion Week 2023 has returned with a significant shift, showcasing over 10 Indigenous designers and dedicating a runway to First Nations creatives. While Melbourne Fashion Week has previously spotlighted the talent of First Nations designers, models, and creatives, this year’s event promises to be one of the largest displays of Indigenous creativity in the festival’s history.
The week-long event features First Nations designers across various runways, with the Ganbu Marra runway, taking place on October 24, exclusively highlighting Indigenous designers. Referred to by Melbourne Fashion Week as a “visual storytelling from the oldest living culture on earth,” this event has already generated considerable media and press attention.
Following its debut in 2022, the Ganbu Marra runway is back, featuring more than 10 First Nations designers from across Australia. The runway will showcase notable designers like Kamara Swim, Ginny’s Girl Gang, Lazy Girl Lingerie, Clair Helen, and Ihraa Swim.
Cassandra Pons, the fashion designer behind Lazy Girl Lingerie, expressed her excitement about being part of this collaborative show, saying, “I am so thrilled and honored to be part of this collaborative show alongside such incredible and inspiring designers.”
In addition to designers, both the Ganbu Marra presentation and other runway events will feature many Indigenous models, both established and emerging, taking to the stage. Model Javadd Anderson, who is participating in his third fashion week, expressed his growing confidence in his walk.
The Welcome to Country will be performed by Wurundjeri woman Chenile Chandler, who will also walk the runway at the Ganbu Marra presentation alongside other Indigenous models.
Melbourne Fashion Week extends beyond the runway, with over 600 celebrated and emerging designers and approximately 100 events. The program includes an exclusive high tea hosted by the award-winning Indigenous brand Ngali at the luxury hotel Pullman Melbourne. The event features a fashion presentation, an intimate Q&A with brand founder Denni Francisco, and a high tea sourced from Indigenous supply chains.
Melbourne Fashion Week significantly contributes to the city’s economy, having contributed $23 million in the previous year and supporting over 1,000 jobs while boosting sales for local businesses. With the increased spotlight on First Nations creatives in the 2023 program, these numbers are expected to rise.
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, noted the importance of Melbourne Fashion Week, saying, “Melbourne Fashion Week is a staple on fashion-lovers’ calendars, delivering a showstopping celebration of our incredible local creatives and designers who make us Australia’s fashion capital.”
Ayesha Madon, an Australian actor, singer, and Netflix series star, will serve as the official Ambassador of Melbourne Fashion Week 2023. She expressed her excitement to be part of an event that celebrates the diversity and creativity of the local fashion industry.
Melbourne Fashion Week 2023 runs from October 23 to 29, with the Ganbu Marra runway taking place on October 24 at THE LUME Melbourne. For more information and ticket purchases, visit www.mfw.melbourne.vic.gov.au. Subscribe to the Style Up newsletter for the latest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle news.
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