Aboriginal Fashion Designer Colleen Tighe Johnson’s career is taking off after opening PLITZS New York City Fashion Week in February this year with her home-grown Gomeroi fashion label Buluuy Mirrii.
Colleen’s designs and creative process uniquely places Aboriginal cultural story within high-end fashion at the international level.
“New York was an opportunity to put Gomeroi cultural stories, music, art and design on an international runway, and I was glowing with pride, I was so proud to be able to share the stories of my Gomeroi ancestors on a world stage,” Ms Tighe Johnson said.
The Tamworth-based Aboriginal educator is now welcoming invitations from all over the world, with upcoming offers for her to showcase on runways in New York and Canada in September this year, before taking her designs to Paris Fashion Week in 2018 and dressing the stars on the red carpet as part of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
“I’m so grateful to be invited back to PLITZS’s Fall runway in New York and to work in collaboration with other First Nations designers from around the world,” she said.
“A number of joint opportunities to create exchange programs for the young Indigenous models we are working with are being discussed now, and it just takes our passion and what we can give back to our communities through fashion, to the next level.”
As part of her fashion design practice, Ms Tighe Johnson has run a development program for Aboriginal young people for the last 15 years.
The program teaches deportment, life skills and introduces them to the runway.
Through other international opportunities she has been able to take some of her young Aboriginal models from Moree and Tamworth to Melbourne and Alice Springs fashion events in the past, and was thrilled to take a young Tamworth model, Zarayn Knight, to New York with her this year.
“At this stage of my career, the opportunities being offered to me are too good to pass up,” she said.
“They are creating so many opportunities not just for me, but for my community, but they are running my personal finances dry.”
She has just launched a fundraising campaign through the Australian Cultural Fund to help with expenses for her September trips to PLITZS New York City Fashion Week and Fashion Speaks International in Canada.
Ms Tighe Johnson’s vision is to pave the way for other Aboriginal designers throughout Australia, and eventually to establish a 100% Aboriginal owned and run fashion house.
Visit https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/spirit-of-my-ancestors-buluuy-mirrii/ to contribute.