Ngali fashion by an ethical mind
Part 2 of article by By NICK PATON
"Storytelling is everything about our culture, and our achievements, as First Nations people, and this collection really does tell an amazing story.”
“But I think the most important thing about the public seeing Aboriginal art in mainstream fashion, is it gives the public a chance to start a conversation about the importance of acknowledging, and respecting First Nations culture.”
Ngali is passionate about ecological and environmental sustainability and keeping their carbon footprint low, Ngali are conscious and determined about moving beyond what Ms Francisco describes as ‘fast fashion’, a term which refers to a garment or piece of clothing designed to last only a short amount of time.
“Unfortunately, there has been a huge rise in recent times of clothing brands designing and manufacturing clothing with extremely low quality materials, and so these garments are only worn for short periods of time before they are discarded,” Ms Francisco said.
“There is a lot of concern about the way we as a society seem to turn over a huge amount of clothes, many of which we never even wear again or use.”
“So at Ngali, we are using sustainable materials that we know are better for the environment, and it’s these types of fabrics that tend to last longer.” Ms Francisco said there are endless opportunities for all Australians to work alongside and celebrate Aboriginal culture, but at the same time, there’s so much that people don’t know, that they might be too afraid to ask about, and so Ms Francisco is hoping this collection will bring Aboriginal art into fashion, and into the spotlight.
“Whenever I speak to international visitors about what the Australian culture means, I always talk to them about Aboriginal culture,” Ms Francisco said.
Indigenous model Laila Morgan wears Ngali on Dja Dja Wurrung country.
“And when I speak about the many different Aboriginal nations around Australia that make up this culture, people are always so intrigued and engaged, and always wanting to know more.”
Ms Francisco said that her advice for any Aboriginal people aspiring for a career in the fashion industry is to simply “follow your heart”.
“Because in the end, we are all guided by our ancestors,” she said.
“And so if we surrender ourselves to their guidance, and take a really long hard look
inside, and ask ourselves what we want, and who we want to be, then things will just flow from there.”
Ngali has featured at Melbourne Fashion Week 2018 and 2019, Australian Eco Fashion Week, and the Darwin Aboriginal Art Runway Event, and Ngali’s online store has seen double-digit growth in the last year alone.
“And there’s no way we could have done this on our own,” Ms Francisco said.
“Never ever be afraid or too proud to ask for support, or for someone to mentor or guide you, because I believe that when you’re passionate enough about something, and you put yourself out there, the support just comes.” “As long as you’re prepared to ride the ups and downs of life, and seek out the appropriate support when needed, then you’ll always be moving forward in a positive direction.”