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Gammin Threads celebrates Indigenous women in Australia

Words by Maki Morita

Deadly designs.

Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Boonwurrung and Mutti Mutti woman Tahnee Edwards was inspired to start Gammin Threads based on the 2018 NAIDOC week theme ‘Because of her, we can’.

“It made me want to come up with some designs that show my appreciation for that matriarchy,” she says.

Gammin Threads makes cute tees in bright colours with typography that pops. The pieces feature phrases like ‘Blak Girl Magic’, ‘Sistahood’, and ‘Big Aunty Energy’.

For Tahnee, Gammin Threads is a means of contributing to the Indigenous rights movement.

“This is my way of activating my voice and getting my message across, because I’m not heaps articulate or outspoken like a lot of the people that I look up to who are organising the rallies. But this is my way of getting my own views and some of my community’s views across.”

When she’s not designing politically charged tees, Tahnee works at an Aboriginal family violence legal service. While she’s always had strong women in her life, her day job has allowed her to make deeper connections with Indigenous women in her community.

“I’ve seen first-hand their strength and resilience,” she explains. “It’s always been there since invasion and colonisation. You really see women coming together, supporting one another and supporting their communities.”

The political ethos behind Gammin Threads is well-needed in a society that continues to sideline racial minorities. With the mainstream media championing stale stereotypes like the blonde beach babe and typical Aussie outback bloke, celebrating the true diversity of Australia is more urgent now than ever.

The sidelining of People of Colour in the fashion industry has been a hot topic of late. Incidents such as Who Weekly’s mixup of South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech and Ugandan-Australian model Flavia Lazarus erupted into national scandal, and reignited the dialogue about representation in the Australian fashion industry.

Amidst this social and political climate, Edwards makes designs that “celebrate things like our language, our traits, and our habits”. With its loud and proud tees, Gammin Threads is activism through design and the brand is open to all supporters of Edwards’ cause.

“I try to make stuff that everyone can wear, like you don’t have to be mob to wear it. If you’re in solidarity and want to show your support you can wear it as well.” Personal style can be political, and Tahnee’s brand is just one brand allowing people to express their opinions through fashion.

There are many things Edwards wants people to understand about Indigenous communities in Australia, one, in particular, being their diversity.

“I want people to understand more about how blackfellas are quite diverse. Like how we don’t all look the same, because some of us have fair skin and we come from different backgrounds and have different lived experiences. It’s not a one-size-fits-all, we’re a diverse mob.”

You can check out Gammin Threads here.

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