The artist-turned-designer was one of three West Australians to feature at the event, which formed part of the Fashion Week program and delivered a platform to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion, textiles and accessories from across Australia.
The former Yokine resident whose heritage links with the Bunaba and Ngikina people led to the naming of her label Aarli, meaning barramundi in Bardi.
Cowlishaw (30) said she was proud to be part of the inaugural event and showcasing her designs along with other Indigenous labels including Grace Lillian Lee, Flannel Billy, Wild Barra and Eva Wanganeen.
‘My collection ” Urban Warriors ” is an upcycled street wear collection, featuring 50 per cent organic fabric,’ she said.
‘I presented six complete looks that included Aarli up-cycled accessories and have been contacted by future buyers.’
The collection, according to Cowlishaw, explores a new perspective of racism and the oppression faced by a younger generation and, in turn, the voice of the next generation of indigenous Australians.
‘This is a sustainable collection that consists of 50 per cent sustainable fabric called PET and 50 per cent up-cycled materials, including denims provided by partnered Australian label Nobody Denim,’ she said. ‘I want to challenge modern society’s perception of indigenous fashion with designs that can be taken from the catwalk and fused into every wardrobe.’
Born in Darwin, Cowlishaw started the business only a year ago.
‘To be able to witness just how many indigenous designers we have today and the diversity of the work we’re creating ” I’m blown away to say the least,’ Cowlishaw said.
Aarli is in the process of obtaining accreditation by Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) to become the first indigenous and only WA label to be accredited by body.