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Production   /  Upstride/Felis Black


A behind-the-scenes look at Australia's rising First Nations fashion industry


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Matt Holcomb

  • PRODUCER Leila Gurruwiwi



When Bábbarra Designs crowdfunded their way from Arnhem Land to Paris Fashion Week 2019 to debut their ‘Jarracharra’ textile art, their journey set off a remarkable chain of events that sparked the arrival of Australia’s fast-rising First Nations fashion industry.

Our film crew was privileged to have travelled with Bábbarra from the Northern Territory to France, where Jarracharra was opened by the Vogue editor-in-chief. Upon return to Australia, Vogue said it had not done enough to support First Nations fashion, and vowed to do more.

Against the backdrop of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, Vogue came good on its word. As the pandemic provided many Indigenous designers creative space and time on country to develop first collections, BLM also offered Vogue a unique moment in time to share Indigenous stories while the world really was listening.

Bábbarra released a collaboration with lifestyle brand Kip and Co, selling out online in days. A steady trickle of First Nations fashion began appearing across Vogue, before quickly moving into Instagram influencer feeds and heralding the introduction of Australia’s first Indigenous fashion awards in 2020. Invites for First Nations designers have flowed to every ‘Big 4’ fashion week in Milan, New York and Paris ever since.

Our film will encourage viewers to open their minds to a future where the momentum from today builds into a situation where every Australian buys and wears Indigenous clothes.

How different, fairer and better would Australia be if we all just decolonised our wardrobes?

Support this project

0.94% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $470.00

  • April 2022

  • 5

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Ellen Keillar $20.00
Jordan Metlokovec $100.00
Colette Naufal $50.00
Steph Sanders $100.00
Janita Ryan $200.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Australia is in the midst of an indigenous employment crisis. In early 2020, the Federal Government admitted for the 13th year running that it had again failed to ‘close the gap’ – with just 35% of indigenous people in very remote areas employed (compared to 70% of non-Indigenous Australians).

In fact, the number of Indigenous Australians with jobs hasn’t increased at all, and female Indigenous employment rates Australia-wide continue to hover around 44%.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include the right to decent work, gender equality and ending poverty in all its forms by 2030. On our current trajectory, Australia won’t even come close.

Many of Australia’s remote Indigenous people have deep cultural commitments, a desire to remain on country and to practice meaningful cultural work – presenting key employment challenges, particularly in very remote areas.

But these aren’t insurmountable odds, and in Arnhem Land, a group of women is bucking the trend in a creative way.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Our film will encourage viewers to open their minds to a future where the momentum from today builds into a situation where every Australian buys and wears Indigenous clothes.

How different, fairer and better would Australia be if we all just decolonised our wardrobes?


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We want to help achieve a future where every Australian buys and wears First Nations clothes.

By decolonising our wardrobes, we can all help support a viable and sustainable First Nations fashion industry, while creating a better and fairer society.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

By securing an appropriate broadcast and distribution deal, we aim to reach as many people within our target audience groups as possible.

This momentum really can help the emerging First Nations fashion industry quickly become extremely viable and sustainable - providing culturally meaningful work to First Nations people for generations to come.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have built a strong relationship with the Bábbarra Women’s Centre and its owner, the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, to ensure that our documentary is culturally appropriate and inspirational.

We are now beginning to build a network of project supporters, impact producers and partners across Australia to further develop our film.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope that all viewers will begin to decolonise their wardrobes, by purchasing First Nations clothing and supporting First Nations fashion designers.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will see the First Nations fashion industry grow across Australia exponentially.

In 2021, there is just one Westfield Shopping Centre in the country with a dedicated First Nations fashion store - Trading Blak in Sydney.

By 2025, we will know we have achieved our vision if every major metropolitan shopping centre, and every major metropolitan CBD area both have at least one dedicated First Nations fashion store.

By 2035, every Australian will have at least one First Nations clothing item in their wardrobe.