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First Nations Fashion + Design partner with Epson

[by Salvatore Di Muccio]


Top left are Kuranda based designer Briana Enoch, Gunggandji designer Elverina Johnson, FNFD’s founder and chairperson, Grace Lillian Lee (centre in yellow dress), Epson Australia MD, Craig Heckenberg (centre) with the FNFD team (front row, in black t-shirts), FNFD x THE ICONIC Incubator Program winners and Epson Australia senior marketing manager, Priscilla Dickason (far right) at the Epson Experience Centre in Yennora. Image: supplied

Nations designers, businesses and communities in the fashion industry in order that they can grow and develop their skills and businesses to become commercially self-sufficient. Then allow the value they have created to flow back into their communities - thus creating a self-supporting ecology.”


The first places in the aforementioned THE ICONIC x FNFD Incubator Program were recently awarded to Gunggandji designer Elverina Johnson of label Pink Fish, Mt. Isa designers Dale Bruce, Cheryl Perez, Glenda McCulloch and Jaunita Doyle of label Myrrdah and Kuranda based designer Briana Enoch of label Jarawee.


Over the next eight months, the designers will participate in workshops, events and experiences developed by a range of industry experts and educators such as Epson, The Hanes group and Bonds with ongoing feedback from the Indigenous creative community.


Craig Heckenberg added, “Our partnership with FNFD is built on a shared vision of promoting cultural and economic sustainability. Through directly supporting inclusive and authentic initiatives such as THE ICONIC x FNFD Incubator Program we will add value by providing access to the world’s most advanced textile printing technologies. We will also share new skills and knowledge to help First Nations designers understand how they can digitally translate their designs into high quality fashion.” 

As Heckenberg says, Epson’s products, services and technologies in digital print and projection will enable First Nations designers to tell their stories by converting their designs into commercially sellable items. This includes printing their canvasses, printing fabrics for the making of fashion garments using direct-to-fabric printers such as the Monna Lisa ML-8000 and using direct-to-garment printers for items such as t-shirts, dye-sublimating designs on fabrics for soft furnishings and printing on to hard surfaces such as mugs and key rings.


Lee continued, “Having Epson as a partner of FNFD gives us access to experts in the industry who can create new opportunities, boost skill development and industry engagement. Also, Epson is a company committed to helping further sustainability in fashion. Their printers offer on demand solutions which reduces waste and over production. This is also a partnership that allows Epson Australia to play a key role in a number of FNFD strategic initiatives that supports First Nations designers and businesses who work within the Australian fashion industry.”


Craig Heckenberg concluded, “Sustainability is central to our partnership with FNFD. Epson is committed to playing its part in helping the world achieve a more sustainable future by using our efficient, compact and precision technologies to connect people and help industry reduce its impact of the environment. One example of this is Epson working with the textile industry to help it shift production from analogue to digital using our unique inkjet technology. This shift will make it possible to bring textile production back onshore to Australia and New Zealand and to better manage demand fluctuations and rapid turnaround times. It will also help to reduce excess stock and disposal losses and significantly reduce chemicals and water currently used in analogue production processes.”


To that point FNFD particularly prides itself on delivering efficient, effective and sustainable solutions across the growing Indigenous fashion ecology. 


Grace Lillian lee concluded, “Along with partners and partnerships like the one we now have with Epson, the FNFD program provides a national platform for grassroots art collectives and artists to showcase Indigenous-led arts, dance and fashion. FNFD along with Epson also aims to promote sustainable, ethical trading and best practice when working with, purchasing or licensing Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander arts, prints, designs, and cultural products.”


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