Ngali debuts First Nations runway show at Australian Fashion Week

Denni Francisco, Founder of Ngali
Denni Francisco, Founder of Ngali

Melbourne-based Indigenous fashion label Ngali presented the first ever First Nations solo runway show at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week. Ngali’s runway show incorporated the works of five other Indigenous creatives in the show’s footwear, millinery, and accessories.

What does milestone mean for the Indigenous culture?

Founder and Wiradjuri designer Denni Francisco is quite passionate about using the brand’s growing platform to create conversations about Indigenous culture through collaboration.

“‘Together we create’ is not just our brand motto; it’s a way of being. Ngali aims to present fashion that shows respect, is polite, gentle to Country, and honours the cross-country collaborations we have with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives,” Denni explains.

In addition, the label’s influence and community impact extend beyond championing First Nations creatives, with part of their sales proceeds donated to Dot Com Mob, a not-for-profit that provides technology and IT education to remote Indigenous communities.

Which collaborations made the event a possibility?

Collaboration also played an essential role in Ngali’s attendance, with several organisations helping the label hit the Carriageworks runway at Australian Fashion Week. “We’re grateful for our partnership with Liberty Financial, who covered the team’s transport and accommodation in Sydney. Without organisations like Liberty, this wouldn’t be possible,” Denni further said.

Other sponsors that supported Ngali’s history-making runway show are the Victorian Government, Lend Lease, IMG, Kinaway Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Murphy, Keolis Downer, Mecca M-Power and Bared Footwear. “It’s empowering to see many organisations want to be involved in sharing Indigenous stories and talent with the world,” Denni said.

Ngali’s cast of First Nations models debuted the Murriyang collection. Named skyworldin the Wiradjuri language, the collection hails the diverse landscape of the Wiradjuri country. The collection is designed to have one move effortlessly wherever they go,” Denni said.

In addition, the runway event also celebrated the artworks of Gija man Lindsay Malay, Ngarrindjeri Wirangu man Keedan Rigney, and Muruwari Kamilaroun woman Laura Brown.