Ethics in Fashion Hitting the Mainstream in Australia

A repost of ‘Desert Designs – Don’t Be Afraid’ in The West Australian by PIP CHRISTMASS April 7, 2014, 4:33 pm

Desert Designs’ spring-summer 2014 collection is called Together, Towards the Water and it’s inspired by the works of the late indigenous artist Jimmy Pike.

The brand’s creative directors, Jedda-Daisy Culley and Caroline Sundt-Wels, have quickly become known for their respectful use of indigenous art in their print work.

The print and colour is really what Desert Designs is all about – there is nothing radically new in the shapes and the silhouettes, which are relaxed and casual – but what a vibrant conception of colour and print they celebrate in their work.

Out came the dresses, relaxed-fit pants, long vests, sarongs and swimwear in a rainbow of hues. Graphic and earthy, these are  prints for men and women unafraid of standing out.

I like this brand very much; it feels authentic and as if it is coming from a place of respect for indigenous art and culture.

I like the diversity of models on the runway too, a comparative rarity at Australian fashion parades. We are so used to seeing one look on the catwalk – usually pale, thin and angular – that it is a refreshing change to see anyone that veers from that description.

I also like that they have a political message to bear. Ruby Rose sat front row wearing imploring us to accept and welcome refugees.

At the end of the show, the creative team all stepped out wearing the same T-shirt. Fashion with a social conscience? In the case of Desert Designs, yes.




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