First Nations fashion thrives in Collingwood

Thursday 14 April 2022

Aboriginal model wearing white dress and grey suit
In February, KIN Fashion officially opened its studio in Peel Street, Collingwood – with support from Yarra City Council and the Victorian Government’s Creative Neighbourhoods Partnerships Pilot Program. 

KIN Fashion supports First Nations people in the fashion industry. Their support covers everything from connecting participants with industry contacts, setting up a manufacturing network, to creating a business plan. 

Their studio has been a hive of activity and excitement following the showcasing of their collections as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival in March.

For Laura Thompson, co-founder and CEO of Clothing The Gaps, being a part of the KIN Fashion program has allowed her to deep-dive into the fashion industry.

“It’s nice to be part of a collective – where you are supported by KIN and all work together,” said Laura. 

“On a practical level, it’s also wonderful having the cutting table and sewing machine at the studio – providing a safe space for my designer to go and experiment with different designs and fabrics,” Laura added.

Annette Sax, KIN Fashion participant and the founder of wa-ring, said the program had supported her in her pathway into fashion. 

“I have been designing Aboriginal homewares and fashion accessories for a few years, but this program has supported me to take the next step in creating beautiful garments and developing my clothing brand, wa-ring.”

“As part of the program, I’ve had the opportunity to work with fashion industry experts with decades of experience. These experts have become my mentors – and I’d like to acknowledge Peter Naughton, Rhys Ripper and Alison Geppert for their guidance and support,” said Annette.

“It is so empowering to have a culturally safe space to work from – and to work with KIN who share my values of education, social justice and self-determination,” added Annette.

Since showcasing their collections at Melbourne Fashion Festival, the team have had interest from the international fashion industry and recently launched their website –

We can’t wait to see what’s next for KIN Fashion!


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