We are thrilled to announce our Brisbane AW19 Indigenous Program recipient Life Apparel Co. Over the last five years Life Apparel Co have developed a broad showcase of fashion featuring the work of talented Indigenous artists from around the country. Proud advocates and members of the Indigenous Art Code, a system to preserve and promote ethical trading in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art, Life Apparel Code supports the rights of Indigenous Artists to negotiate fair terms for their work and gives buyers greater certainty about an artwork’s origin.
We can’t wait to see Life Apparel Co’s Brisbane debut stall come to life and welcome you to learn more about this incredible Australian brand below!
There’s so much to Life Apparel Co, from the huge amount of Indigenous artists you’re supporting to the wide range of products. Tell us a bit more about Life Apparel Co and how it all started?
It all began in 2014 with a one-off product release, with no intention of becoming a company. Seeing the need and support from the communities all around Australia, we took the next step and created our brand whilst trying to bring Indigenous culture to the forefront of mainstream fashion in Australia.
It was only through the encouragement of our loyal customers, amazing artists and the communities around that we were inspired to move forward. Our team still consists of a small, tight-knit group of four, based on the Gold Coast. Now, almost five years later, Life Apparel has grown into the brand that it is today, and we are excited to see how things continue to evolve in the future.
We aim for our clothing to act both as an avenue for showcasing indigenous Australian culture, and also for opening a dialogue and cultivating greater respect and understanding between communities.
You’ve collaborated with five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create an amazing collection in celebration of Naidoc Week 2019. Can you share some insights into the importance of this project and the artists involved?
This year’s powerful Naidoc Week theme of ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth – Let’s work together for a shared future. It acknowledges that the First Nation’s people of Australia want a greater voice in regards to decision making in the country. We think that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community has an invaluable story to tell – rich in culture, history and ancient wisdom. We think that fashion is a great way of expressing and respecting culture, so we have translated the traditional stories created by our artist into contemporary fashion collections hoping that these beautiful pieces may start a conversation. Our customers include not only the First Nation’s community but also other people of all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. We aim for our clothing to act both as an avenue for showcasing indigenous Australian culture, and also for opening a dialogue and cultivating greater respect and understanding between communities. Our featured artists have done a beautiful job in creating artworks that are not such visually striking, but also help to communicate this powerful message through their own personal story.
What can we expect to discover at your first Finders Keepers Stall in Brisbane? Are there some best sellers coming along?
We will be bringing some items from our Naidoc 2019 collection, which has been hugely popular in the past months, as well as a selection of other products showcasing a range of artworks such our the all-time-favourite eco bamboo coffee cups.
We loved having one of your feature artists Rachael Sara as our Indigenous Program Recipient in Sydney! Can you tell us a bit more about how you discover your artists?
We are lucky enough to be working with Rachael since last year, she has created such beautiful artworks and brought a bold and colourful side to our range! Life Apparel Co is a proud member and advocate of the Indigenous Art Code (currently the only apparel-only company in Australia). The code ensures that all our featured artworks are 100% authentic as well as we maintain a high ethical standard of collaboration between ourselves as a business and the artists we work with. We are constantly on the lookout for talented artists, often we find them within the community and often they find us. Each artist’s work is as unique as their fingerprint, if our ethos inspires any artist, we encourage them to contact us!
What does the perfect future hold for Life Apparel Co?
Last year we have updated our in-house order fulfilment system that ensures we don’t send a single piece of plastic to the customers, only use recycled cardboard or compostable packaging – we will continue on this path and introduce even more sustainable solutions. We have also released new home products such as cups, mats and towels late last year to complement our unique fashion range and our team is already working on some amazing products that will be ready for the next summer season so stay tuned!
We will be also working with some new artists in the upcoming collections, which is always really exciting for us! There is no end to this story that we are telling together with our artists, we are grateful to have come this far and we are very excited for what the future holds.