I’ve been an earth child for as long as I can remember and I’ve wanted to save Mother Earth and protect her since I was a little girl. I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen about the importance of sustainability and why caring, protecting and nurturing our environment is essential, and I’ll also proudly talk about my Indigenous heritage.
Amanda Healy shares my passion and values, and as the founder of Kirrikin, she too understands the importance of restoring, respecting and sharing Indigenous culture.
Amanda is from the Wonnarua nation, the traditional owners of the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and her personal story is woven into her label name, 'Kirrikin'. Kirrikin means 'Sunday's best clothes' in the original language recoded by missionaries visiting the Hunter Valley early in the 1820s, and Amanda retells her story and the story of Indigenous Australians each season through print design.
The print of the Geraldine Jumpsuit I’m wearing is designed by Indigenous artists, Kaye White, Shane Hansen and Helena Geiger, and ethically made in Australia. It's one piece in a collection that symbolises something much greater, exploring the identity of Aboriginal people, traditions, and their land through design. This is what good fashion really looks and feels like.
Amanda stepped away from her creative schedule to share more about her personal story and her passions...
Why are you passionate about ethical fashion?
I love the idea that when I buy something, nobody or living creature has been injured in the process. I want to feel like I am contributing to a better future for us all, and I think ethical fashion is the embodiment of that – and so critical – because we all wear clothes right?
Why are you passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry?
I am on a personal mission to dramatically improve my own environmental responsibility, to provide a much cleaner future for my son, and all of our children. I have been really disappointed in the amount of throw away fashion we have seen over the last 15 years, and it is getting cheaper, and much more disposable. It isn't sustainable, and certainly is not creating a clean future! I do what I can to make sure we use sustainable products and processes. I think it is important we all look to a better future for a cleaner environment.
Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do to improve the lives of the artists that I work with. Many aboriginal artists struggle to make a living, while many of the big art galleries sell their work for huge sums. I am trying to get a regular sustainable income for our artists (who are paid commissions quarterly, which is much fairer). Any excess from the sales each year go to programs to support Aboriginal women in rural areas, or in the prison system in Western Australia. Anything I can do to kick down doors and improve and increase the positive visibility of our culture is important to me.
How do you want people to feel when they wear your uniquely Australian designs?
Great question! I want people to feel connected to our culture, and to feel the real essence of the Australian summer. As we use recycled products, I want them to feel a sense of luxury and fun too.
How do Indigenous Australian artists get involved in the design process
Generally, the artists are not interested so much in the design process, but more in the creativity of the art itself. I do run designs past them before production, and make sure they are happy, which they all seem to be, but it's the prints they love most.
Shop the Geraldine Jumpsuit or the full Kirrikin range here and support a better fashion future.
The Fashion Advocate x