MORLEY designer Teagan Cowlishaw has teamed up with the State Library of WA for her latest community project, the Bibbulmun Bardi Exhibition.
The founder of indigenous fashion brand Aarli, who recently started her studio residency at the library’s Co Creative Studio space, has been working with indigenous fashion icons Ron Gidgup and Francine Kickett on the exhibition, which centres on the evolution of WA indigenous fashion and textiles.
Cowlishaw said the exhibition, which looks at the historical timeline after the 1967 referendum, showcased her community’s diverse talent.
“I am completely obsessed with fashion and especially Aboriginal fashion, textiles and history,” she said.
“Since the ’80s I have collected Aboriginal fashion, textiles, illustrations, newspaper articles and stored them away for the past 30 years.
“I have always had this exhibition concept and I want to show the WA community and next generation of indigenous fashion designers and textile artists the evolution of WA indigenous fashion and textile.”
Having dressed actors such as Home and Away’s Bonnie Sveen and Mirand Tapsell, Cowlishaw said working with mentors she had admired, including Gidgup, who she described as the “Godfather” of Aboriginal fashion, had been amazing.
“They have seen me grow up and have been part of my journey,” she said.
“I’ve always had a fascination with fashion and being surrounded by indigenous designers after modelling for my mother, who co-ordinated fashion events in Darwin.
“I was lucky enough to see first-hand all the behind the scenes of iconic fashion designers such as Linda Jackson, Ron Gidgup, Francine Kickett and Lenore Dempski. Ron has always had a major influence on me as a fashion designer, but both Ron and Francine have always been inspirations.”
Cowlishaw is also looking for interns for upcoming community projects.