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Australian Fashion Laureate finalist Maara Collective’s new collection might be the label’s best yet

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSE-LEIGH ELFORD

WORDS BY JULIETTE CAPOMOLLA

And it features exclusive prints by Yuwaalaraay artist Lucy Simpson.

Australian luxury resort wear label Maara Collective is releasing its new Resort 20/21 Dhinawan collection. This collection continues founder and creative director Julie Shaw’s vision of reflecting the Australian landscape and paying respect to her Indigenous ancestry. 

Shaw is a descendent of the Yuwaalaraay people which inspires much of her work, and her latest collection features exclusive prints designed by Yuwaalaraay artist Lucy Simpson for the Maara Collective x Gaawaa Miyay print collaboration. The keystone print, the Dhinawan emu feather print, pays respect to the totem of the Yuwaalaraay and other First Nations peoples. 

Maara Collective’s focus on craftsmanship is on display in this collection, with knotted details, expert draping and fringing highlighting the care and artistry that was involved. 

Shaw emphasises traditional techniques and practices not only in the prints and colourways but also in the production of her designs. She showcases many First Nations artists by featuring their prints on garments and collaborating with jewellery designers. For this collection, the jewellery was co-designed with Worimi artist Krystal Hurst and includes the use of the signature emu feathers. 

It’s not hard to see why Maara Collective was awarded the Community Collaboration Award and the Fashion Design Award at the inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) this year. 

The award spotlighted over 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers across six categories when it was live-streamed back in August, and Shaw took out a third of the awards. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she has also just been announced as a finalist for the Best Australian Emerging Designer Award for the Australian Fashion Laureate 2020. 

The brand first made its debut last year at the 2019 Country to Couture runway show in Darwin. Since then, Shaw has become a leading First Nations artist and designer. As a part of the Fashion Design Award through the NIFA, Maara Collective is also embarking on a 12-month mentorship with Country Road where it will develop a collection by working alongside Country Road’s teams.

The release of Maara Collective’s Resort 20/21 collection aptly coincides with NAIDOC week this week, a week that celebrates the achievements, culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. You can view the full collection and jewellery collaboration here

maaracollective.com/

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