We are an independent National Indigenous Corporation. We are a Not For Profit who’s core business is in supporting the growth of Indigenous Fashion + Design. Our voluntary board of Director are supporting and assisting with their knowledge and time to grow First Nations Fashion + Design.
We are not about one off projects we are about strategic and systemic growth for our people.
We aim to maintain cultural relevance in the areas of Custodianship of design , Collective knowledge ownership + connection to country.
Grace Lillian Lee, the founder of First Nations Fashion and Design, Grace is a graduate of RMIT University with Honours in Fashion Design and has established herself as one of Australia’s leading Indigenous artist and designer with works collected by the National Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Art Gallery of South Australia, Cairns Art Gallery, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Studies and Kluge-Ruhe University of Virginia. She has personally showcased her works overseas in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and San Francisco.
She is the founder of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Indigenous Fashion Performance that began in 2013 and has also curated and produced ‘From Country to Couture’ in Darwin since 2017- 2019. Grace also produced fashion shows in Papua New Guinea, Melbourne and Adelaide. Under her established company, Grace Lillian Lee Productions Pty Ltd, produced ‘Intertwined’ Fashion Performance at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.
With a strong desire to work with Communities and to encourage creative expressions, her purpose is to guide members towards developing their practice into wearable art and adornment in a contemporary platform. As consultant and mentor, she has worked with Darnley Island + Moa in the Torres Straits, Northern Territory communities Nuiyu and Katherine as well as Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria , Waringarri in Kununurra + many independent creatives.
Grace has also been appointed to be a member of the of the advisory board for the Swayn Centre for Australian Design at the National Museum of Australia to represent Indigenous Fashion Design + Textiles.
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.
Founder and Designer
My vision was to create a legal industry first – a practice whose diverse people walk in two worlds, offer an unparalleled client experience and deliver unique solutions. As a proud Trawlwoolway (Palawa) woman I was equally passionate about providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the legal industry.
Leah, our principal lawyer is both highly effective in commercial legal practice and influential across government, corporate Australia in advocating for social change.
Leah is a leading light in the legal profession in her own right and through her formation of Marrawah Law. Both regularly feature in the legal profession’s benchmark rankings Doyle’s Guide and other national awards. Leah was most recently recognised as one of the Top 20 Under 40 business entrepreneurs in Australia, Indigenous Legal Practitioner of the Year in Queensland and nationally and took out the top gong for excellence in the Women In Law Awards.
Since forming the firm in 2013, her philosophy of doing law differently by has been the driving force behind Marrawah Law’s growth into one of the largest Indigenous owned and operated law firm in Australia today.
While her practitioner skills were forged in property law, native title and culture heritage matters her passion has evolved into providing mainstream commercial law services for government, corporates and Indigenous businesses across the country.
Today she provides both strategic and technical guidance and advice to ensure that client’s projects, transactions and processes are managed well. Leah continues to be a passionate advocate for the growth of the Indigenous-owned business sector, women in business and a more collaborative form of commercial legal practice that establishes win-win outcomes for all stakeholders.
Marrawah Law Pty Ltd