We are a newly established 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.
- Yatu Widders Hunt - Co Chair
- Jirra Harvey - Co Chair
- Teagan Cowlishaw - Secretary
- Grace Lillian Lee - Treasurer
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).
Participation in the Australian Indigenous Fashion Design Week Program at the Whitehouse Institute of Design in 2013, was a catalyst for her to transition from visual art to textiles and fashion. In 2015 she was recognised for her leadership skills and participated in the British Council ACCELERATE: Indigenous Leadership Program.
Major milestone, AARLI working with Channel Seven and Bonnie Sveen to design and custom made a eco couture gown for TV Week Logie Award which featured AARLI on red carpet and story published in the Who Magazine 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.
TJ Career milestone include being part of the event production at the 2019 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. Being the part of the event team and being selected as the Producer alongside Grace Lillian Lee of the 2019 ‘From Country to Couture’ fashion performances including the official launch of the Gorman x Mangkaja collection.
Recently, TJ has taken a role as part of the First Nation Fashion and Design team as their National Coordinator and Producer to be part of the movement to continue to provide opportunities and build a legacy for our next generation of first nations artists + designers.
TJ Cowlishaw aims to empower our emerging next generation of ‘Urban Warriors’ our future leaders. To ignite their fires and inspire them to want to influence society’s perceptions of first nations people. AARLI will continue to provide developmental opportunities for next generation First Nation creatives and independent fashion designers.
Jirra Lulla Harvey is a Yorta Yorta / Wiradjuri businesswoman and adventurer. She established Kalinya Communications in 2012 to share positive community stories and works across communications, brand development and entrepreneurship. An avid traveller Jirra has learnt from First Nations people around the world and has home bases in both Australia and the USA. Her latest initiative the Kalinya Retreats is a place for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and friends to gather on Country to create new products. She is driven by a belief that intergenerational Indigenous knowledge paired with new technologies can address current global challenges. Jirra holds a BA (Media and Communications) and is currently completing an Executive MBA. She was Fellow of Indigenous Arts Leadership at the National Gallery of Australia, Fellow of Indigenous Enterprise and Innovation at RMIT University, sits on the Inclusion Advisory Board for Rampersand VC and the Board of the Melbourne International Film Festival. FNFD combines Jirra’s love of beauty, culture, representation and economic freedom for First Nations people.
Yatu is a descendant of the Dunghutti and Anaiwan peoples of the Northern Tablelands of NSW. She is currently a Director at Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway (CIR) which is part of the BWM Dentsu Group.
At CIR, Yatu leads major communications, creative, research and community engagement projects which are aimed at driving real social outcomes with Indigenous Australians. She has worked on projects for the Referendum Council, NSW Police, Country Road Group, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Mental Health Commission.
Yatu has a background in Government communications and worked in a number of Federal Departments in Canberra, including to a Minister. She has also been a journalist and media consultant at National Indigenous Television, the National Rugby League and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.
Yatu is also a key advocate for the Indigenous fashion sector and is the founder and curator of the high profile @ausindigenousfashion online communities. She regularly speaks on issues of Indigenous design and is a member of the NSW Government Architect’s ‘Connecting with Country- Expert Advisory Panel.’