TJ Cowlishaw’s family kinship lies with Nyikina people and paternal connections are with Bardi and Nyul Nyul people on the Dampier Peninsular, WA. (Grandmother's ancestry - Family name: Hunter). She is also a descended from the Chinese Pirates of Shanghai (Grandfather's ancestry - Family name: Jan).
Her First nations heritage has led itself to the naming of her label. AARLI meaning fish, in Bardi language.
At a young age, TJ Cowlishaw witnessed the emergence of the Indigenous fashion industry, through designs by Ron Gidgup, Lenore Dembski and Linda Jackson. These fashion designers continue to inspire her.
Major milestone, AARLI working with Channel Seven and Bonnie Sveen to design and custom made a eco couture gown for TV Week Logie Awards in April 2017.
AARLI creations were on display at selected exhibitions including being recognised as part of national survey taken by Jefa Greenaway in ‘Blak Design Matters’ was held at Koori Heritage Trust, Melbourne VIC and ‘Bibbullmun Bardi’ exhibition held at State Library of Western Australia.
Being selected as part of the designers to be showcased as part of 2020 Piinpi contemporary fashion exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery to being featured at National Museum of Australia fin Piinipi Touring exhibition.