Kirrikin Australia, celebrates indigenous art through fashion

Sam Harris in Kirrikin Summer 1.jpg

Aboriginal / Pacific Alliance Challenges The Status Quo.
Kirrikin is an Aboriginal word that roughly translates as "Sunday's best clothes", which in modern day terms is luxury. This is what Kirrikin is. Luxury. Specifically, an Aboroginal design luxury resortwear brand. 

Kirrikin is a 100 per cent owned and operated Aboriginal business, that returns a percentage of each purchase to the Indigenous Australian artist involved in the collection’s design.  Each artist has been personally sourced by Kirrikin, and the exclusive designs revolve around identity, Aboriginal people, traditions and their land.

The name Kirrikin is used with permission by the Elders of the Wonnarua Nation, traditional owners of the Hunter Valley in NSW, and from where Kirrikin founder Amanda Healy hails.

The fashion industry was not always her forte... Amanda has spent more than 35 years  in the mining industry, in Australia, Africa and Canada.

Amanda founded Maxx Engineering in the Pilbara in 2004 (which she sold in 2015 to Thyssenkrupp) and in early 2017 she started up 2 Indigenous engineering companies, one in Pilbara, the other in Cape York, supporting Aboriginal people in business and developing people in the mechanical space.

In between mining, Amanda developed Kirrikin in 2014 simply because she couldn’t find high quality Aboriginal print scarves to wear during the presentations she was giving on Aboriginal issues. 

By 2015 Kirrikin’s handcrafted silk and cashmere scarves, silk neckties, bow ties and pocket squares featuring artworks of contemporary Indigenous Australian artists were found in high end boutiques and art galleries gift shops. 

The idea for Kirrikin Summer was developed by Amanda late 2017, in conjunction with Michelle Cook of Billion Dollar Babes fame.

Then in early 2018 Amanda joined forces with Indigenous Textile Artist Francince Kickett (Kirrikin Artist) and Fashion Designers,  TJ Cowlishaw (sustainable and ethical fashion label AARLI) and Clair Parker (Clair Helen Collective) to design and develop a clothing collection.

In keeping with its platform of inclusivity, Pacific Runway invites an Indigenous designer to open the show and this year, Kirrikin is doing the honours.

Pacific Runway’s Publicist (Dusk Devi) spoke with Kirrikin founder, Amanda Healy.

1. How important is this Indigenous/Pacific alliance in solidifying (the need for) inclusivity in the fashion industry? 

“The whole world could do with a lot more acceptance and mainstreaming of different cultures,  Diversity is the word for 2018!
The fashion industry can get a little obsessed with thin and white- the Indigenous/Pacific alliance is just the right avenue to challenge that thinking.  The pure joy and beauty in our cultures surely will start to change a few views don’t you think? 
We need to make sure the message gets out far and wide, and every possible audience is included.  You ROCK Pacific Runway 2018!!”

Do you think there is a need for a separate Indigenous Fashion Week or should Australian Fashion week have platforms in place for indigenous designers? 

Hmmm this questions just about tears me in two.  I love the idea of an exclusive fashion week, but the more we do that the more we are seen as different...and not necessarily in a good way. 
I think we should be pushing into mainstream Fashion Shows now, some of the quality and uniqueness of our designs and (gorgeous) models need to been seen by that audience too. 


What else –other than the exclusive Indigenous artist artwork- sets Kirrikin apart?

We pride our selves on our ethical approach to Fashion so we print all our Authentic art onto re-cycled products , eg Viscose (wood pulp) and Vita Lycra (Recycled Plastic Bottle lycra) and we create unique and luxurious garments.

What will Pacific Runway audiences be seeing from Kirrikin? 

Hahah!I could say ‘come along and see!!!’... but prepare yourself for a real feel of the Australian Summer, the colours of Australia, flow-y dresses and FUN!!