A Darwin-based First Nations fashion brand run by a former AFL star is eyeing national expansion after receiving a federal government grant.
Founder of House of Darwin, former AFL player Shauny Edwards hopes to take the House of Darwin brand out of the Northern Territory and collaborate with other brands as they have done in the past with Film Never Die and Harry’s.
Edwards said he was excited to branch out.
“We are releasing a new collection with AFENDS soon,” he said.
“We hope to expand our footprint beyond the borders of the Northern Territory and Australia through various wholesale accounts and activations.”
House of Darwin was among 21 recipients of the Australian Council for the Arts’ inaugural Fulfillment Fund to support production, design and professional development as well as increased digital visibility for the textile design and fashion sector of First Nations.
For Edwards and House of Darwin, the brand is not just another fashion brand, but also a social enterprise.
Edwards said profits are plowed back into the community, including funding a basketball program.
“We started Hoop Dreams in the Northern Territory and are renovating basketball courts in remote indigenous communities,” he said.
“We know that basketball courts act as a central point of health, dance and well-being for many communities in the Northern Territory.
“Renovating a basketball court with an attractive mural will have great results for the health and well-being of the community.”
Wiradjuri founder and Ngali designer, Denni Francisco, also received a grant to develop First Nations creativity in the national and global fashion market.
Winner of the 2022 Fashion Designer Award at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards, Francisco said she plans to use the grant in a number of ways.
“We are going to be working on expanding our scarves collection because our scarves collection is very popular,” she said.
“The grant gives us the opportunity to do more formal collaborations and being outside of the fair (Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair) is actually being able to identify you know which artists might be interested in doing this with us.”
Flourish Fund Recipients:
- Tiwi Designs Aboriginal Corporation (Northern Territory) – for training initiatives in artwork translation in screen printing, screen making and textile production.
- Kinaway (Victoria) Chamber of Commerce – for its KIN textile library – an artistic resource for creatives expanding their practice to include textiles
- Liandra Gaykamang (Northern Territory) – The Deep Sea Collection: Together, Apart Lets Interact
- House of Darwin (Northern Territory) – expanding its commercial footprint and activations nationally and internationally
- Lyllardya Houston (New South Wales) – Walumarra Collection 2022
- Gammin yarns (Victoria) – Range of accessories Gammin yarns
- Nathan McGuire (New South Wales) – Solid Ocher – First collection at Australian Fashion Week May 2023
- Ikuntji Artists Aboriginal Corporation (Northern Territory) – Ikuntji Artists at London Pacific Fashion Week 2022 + Pacific Arts
- Ananguku Arts & Cultural Aboriginal Corporation (South Australia) – Iwiri and Ku Arts Textile Project
- Injalak Arts & Crafts Aboriginal Corporation (Northern Territory) – Arnhem Land Textile Design Workshop hosted and hosted in-country by Injalak Arts
- Maria Caldwell (New South Wales) – Bundjalung Textile & Design Industry Development for emerging/mid-career creatives.
- Jarin Baigent (New South Wales) – for Jarin Street – Manufacturing Support/Procurement and Digital Marketing/Presence Support
- Paul McCann (Victoria) – Paul McCann: Evolution of Indigenous artistic practice in fashion design, jewelry and painting
- Jedess Hudson (Queensland) – Pixelated Dreaming – Digital fusion for fashion
- PR Creative (Northern Territory) – Studio North x Yarrenyty Altere Artists Capsule Collection
- Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation (Western Australia) – Creations and emerging designers of Juluwarlu sharing the Yindjibarndi culture
- Rebecca Barlow (Western Australia) – Mambakoort Deadly Denim Collection
- Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (Northern Territory) – digital marketing platform research for Aboriginal arts centers textiles and fashion
- Ngali pty ltd (Victoria) – Ngali – expanding First Nations creativity into the domestic and global fashion market
- Julie Appo (Queensland) – “Gnarla” will support activities aimed at expanding Julie’s artistic practice, as well as an online retail platform.
- Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council (Queensland) – Yarrabah Fashion Style 2023