I was lucky enough to go to a remote Aborigina town, Wadeye, in July 2019 and have maintained a meaningful connection to that community. I feel so incredibly lucky to call many people from there my friends now.
In Australia there is an ongoing feeling of guilt and powerlessness from the non-Aboriginal community. We know that things are far from equitable, we can see the low health and educational outcomes and the high incarceration rates, but what can we do? Economic inclusion is one tangible thing and it is something we take very seriously at Underwear for Humanity.
Many doors are closed to Aboriginal people, how can we use our privilege to open them and pass the mic?
I work in a creative industry and am old enough to know people, so I can use that. So together with Rebecca Crawley from Thamarrurr Youth Indigenous Corporation (Elder owned) we dreamed up a program idea, we got together with my friend Dave Giles-Kaye to help us create the program of Fashion Futures. We were supposed to run the first program in April 2020…fast forward to post-pandemic, and we ran it in March 2022, and we have our next one at the end of this month.
What is Fashion Futures?
It is a program that exposes young adults from Wadeye to different elements of the fashion industry, with the goal to spark interest and have exposure, create connections and open doors. If you are from a town with no shops (except one small food supply) it is another world. And if we can support their journey and make it safe, then the world opens with more opportunities.
I personally feel that we all need to do this, we all need to open doors to allow inclusion and opportunities, it is something I am extremely passionate about and motivated to do.
In our first program we had great support from: Nobody Denim, Country Road Group, LCI Melbourne - Institute of Higher Education.
This program we are including the girls in an Underwear for Humanity shoot (not in their undies) with make-up artists, hair, photography, modelling. Skye
We always have an Indigenous model; and Skyla Lauch will mentor the girls on her journey.
LCI is teaching sewing and draping for a day.
Clothing The Gaps are taking us through their operation.
HoMie Clothing will share their manufacturing and retail.
The Social Studio Organization is taking us through their workshop.
Dave’s business HATCH + make will show us all how to manufacture knitwear in Australia.
Next steps? Employment, traineeships, and further study if they want it. If they don’t want it, that’s ok too, it is just another opportunity for inclusion and choice.
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