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These Australian Designers Are Changing The Textile Industry

TDF Design Awards

The Australian fashion and textile industry has endured some serious blows in recent years, but if the talent of the Textile Design finalists in the 2020 The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards is anything to go by, the future’s looking bright!

Not only are these local labels producing work that is visually stunning, with a strong focus on sustainable production, but several of these collections have also been developed in collaboration with First Nations creatives, with a clear commitment to ethical collaboration standards, and mutually beneficial outcomes.

Judging the category this year is surface pattern designer Cassie Byrnes, owner and textile designer of Melbourne-made label Variety Hour, and Luciana Wallis, design manager at Warwick Fabrics who has over 13 years experience in the local textile design industry. 

Take a closer look at the finalist designs below, and stay tuned for the winner’s announcement later this year!

10th September, 2020

Kip&Co with Bábbarra Women’s Centre, Kip & Co x Bábbarra. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Kip&Co with Bábbarra Women’s Centre, Kip&Co x Bábbarra

Kip&Co and the Bábbarra Women’s Centre joined forces to create this spectacular range of textiles and homewares, developed over two years. The collection features eight unique artworks from seven Bábbarra Women’s Centre artists – Deborah Wurrkidj, Elizabeth Wullunmingu, Helen Lanyinwanga (deceased), Janet Marawarr, Jennifer Wurrkidj, Margot Gurawiliwili, and Raylene Bonson. Every element, from the artwork selection, to product range, colours and labels, has been led by the women at Bábbarra. 

Profits from sales of the collection will be divided equally between Bábbarra and Kip&Co, and copyright specialists the Copyright Agency were engaged from the very beginning of the project to ensure best practice for licensing and ethical processes were upheld throughout its execution.

The Bábbarra Women’s Centre is one of the most important community spaces in Maningrida, a remote Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land at the tip of the Northern Territory. 

Revisit our feature on this collection and collaboration here.

Gorman and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Mangkaja x Gorman. Photo – Charles Fréger. Annie Cooper, Annie Coop Textiles. Photo – Lillie Thompson.

Gorman and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Mangkaja x Gorman

Iconic fashion label Gorman worked with Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency in Fitzroy Crossing to produce a collaboration with five senior Aboriginal artists: Ngarralja Tommy May, Sonya Kurarra, Daisy Japulija, Nada Rawlins and Lisa Uhl. The collection was photographed in Fitzroy Crossing, and the collection was modelled by local women. 

The two-year development process around this 25-piece collection was supported by the Copyright Agency as a national benchmark in fashion licensing rights, making the adaptation of the Mangkaja artists’ works on Gorman silhouettes a landmark achievement. Funds from the sale of the collection were donated to Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency to support youth programs within the art centre. 

Revisit our story on this collaboration here.

Annie Cooper, Annie Coop Textiles

Australian textile studio Annie Coop is owned and operated by designer Annie Cooper. The label’s fabric design, production, and manufacturing are entirely conducted in Melbourne, and sold in interior showrooms throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and UK. 

Taking cues from her travels throughout Mexico and Spain, Annie has created an original aesthetic with an uncompromising approach to quality, craftsmanship and sustainability. Her made-to-order fabrics are printed on ethically sourced linen, recycled polyesters, and cotton wallpaper using large format digital textile printers.

Revisit our feature on Annie Coop here.

Ellen McKenna, From Art to Fashion. Photo – Kirsten Bresciani

 

Ellen McKenna, From Art to Fashion

The debut large-scale, solo exhibition of artist Ellen McKenna showcases the complex process of developing a garment of clothing through art. Titled ‘From Art to Fashion’, the exhibition takes the form of a step-by-step visual journey, beginning with painted canvas artworks, then patterned fabric displays, and sewn garments. The show’s objective is to highlight clothing garments as items of worth – an alternative to the seasonal turn-arounds of the disposable fashion model.

Magpie Goose, Magpie Goose x Ikuntji Artists. Photo – Sarah Mackie. Castle, Little Garden Bedlinen. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Magpie Goose, Magpie Goose x Ikuntji Artists

Magpie Goose is a platform for Aboriginal artists to share stories and generate income through the creation of wearable art. The objective of the Ikuntji Artists collaboration (a member-based, not for profit, Aboriginal art centre led by a board of seven local Indigenous directors) in particular was to showcase the stories of female artists from the Western Desert. 

This capsule clothing collection features eight unique designs originally created by five senior female artists from the Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) community, located 230 kilometres west of Alice Springs. These artworks designs were then set up for screen printing by Magpie Goose, and eventually crafted into clothing.

As a non-Aboriginal owned business, Magpie Goose fosters the celebration of Aboriginal culture, people and stories through the medium of fashion, and helps to create meaningful opportunities for financial gain for their First Nations collaborators.

Castle, Little Garden Bedlinen

The Little Garden range combines hand painted aspects of Castle’s art practice with the commercial production of bedlinen. The collection began as a small painted artwork of a garden, created on paper using pencil, crayon, oils, gouache, acrylic, texta and pastel. Ordinarily this artwork would be reduced down to seven or eight colours before being printed onto products, but for the first time in Castle’s history, this design was digitally printed to capture every single colour and brushstroke of the original artwork. The Little Garden range includes quilt covers, sheets, pillowcases, and a bedspread.

Revisit our feature on this collection here

Baina, Collection .01. Photo – Greta van der Star. Pampa, To-yik-ca. Photo – Victoria Aguirre.

Baina, Collection .01

Melbourne-based label Baina was founded by Anna Fahey and Bailey Meredith. Drawing on their experience in the fashion industry, the pair set out to create considered, organic cotton bath towels that would complement and elevate the commonly neutral bathroom.

Baina’s inaugural range is a seven-piece collection designed to work in any combination, allowing customers to mix and match colours and prints. Products are made from 100 per cent organic cotton and produced in Portugal by a Global Organic Textile Standard certified mill. 

Revisit our feature on Baina’s debut collection here.

Pampa, To-yik-ca

The To-yik-ca rug collection is a collaboration between Byron Based homewares label Pampa and the Wichí (Indigenous) peoples of Argentina. This collaboration saw Wichí and Andes weavers engaged to create textiles, which were adapted by Pampa to a large format for the weaving of the rugs. 

Designs in the To-yik-ca (meaning ‘loom’ in the local dialect of the Wichí people) collection are representative of the traditional lands of the Wichí people. The end result is a beautiful collection of rugs that balance the contemporary with the traditional. Rugs in this collection feature bold geometric shapes inspired by nature, woven in sheep’s wool, and dyed in Pampa’s signature earthy and pastel tones.

North, Tiwi Strong Women’s Collection. Photo – Hilary FayeGemma Threadgate, Threadgate. Photo – Natalia Parsonson.

North, Tiwi Strong Women’s Collection

The Tiwi Strong Women’s Collection is the latest fashion collection from not-for-profit organisation North, in collaboration with the Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association.

In this collection, artists of Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti and Waurrumiyanga were invited to share their culture through hand screen printed fashion. Each of the designs was handmade in the community, printed in a workshop with artist Timothy Growcott, then hand-sewn in Melbourne. 

North exists as a vessel to celebrate, support and broaden the exposure of textile design by Indigenous artists from remote community art centres. They are a non-Aboriginal owned business, governed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous board members. 

Revisit our feature on this collection here.

Gemma Threadgate, Threadgate

If names are anything to go by, Gemma Threadgate chose the right creative pursuit! The Sydney-based textile designer produces small-scale collections for her eponymous label from start to finish, which means designing, hand-printing, cutting and sewing the clothing and homewares with the help of one other maker.

Inspired by Ted Spagna’s 1975 book, Sleep, which explores the intimate narratives of human sleep behaviour through time-lapse photography, Gemma linked the universal act of sleep with the repetitive motions of screen printing. 

Threadgate’s subsequent six-piece Sleep collection comprises a newly designed trouser, shirt, dress hat, tote bag and cushion cover. The capsule is guided by slow fashion principles.

We’re proud to partner with heritage Australian brand Laminex to realise The Design Files + Laminex Awards program 2020.  Laminex is Australia’s leading supplier of modern laminates, quality engineered stone, timber panelling and more. Find out more here.

Winners of the The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 + Laminex will be announced November 5!

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.