ARIA 2018 nominee Emily Wurramara stepped onto the red carpet of the awards proudly wearing a custom gown made of special silk hand-dyed from plants from her community on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf Of Carpenteria in Northern Territory – the Anindilyakwa people.
Designed by critically-acclaimed Australian designer, Cindy Vogels, each hand-dyed portion of the fabric was tagged with the artist's name, creating a one-of-a-kind collaboration spanning dozens of women over hundreds of thousands of kilometres.
"I always want my clients to be connected to their fabric, but the connection between Emily and hers goes beyond any experience I've ever bared witness to in my fashion adventures thus far," Gympie-based Cindy says. Her fashion label Racy & Lucky primarily dresses women in music.
"To have so many women involved in the making of this gown – from the women's co-op in India who weaved the silk, to the women in the Anindilyakwa region bush-dying the fabric to collaborating with Emily and her team on the design – I've never been so proud to create a gown!"
From Gympie to the Gulf of Carpentaria to India, the women who lovingly crafted Emily Wurramara's custom gown watched on with bated breath on the night as Emily walked proudly on the red carpet at The Star in Sydney.
"What an absolute honour it was to work with Cindy and the Anindilyakwa Arts Centre mob,” Emily says. “I felt my people's spirits with me on that carpet and had so much pride in my heart to be representing not only me but my sisters, my aunties, my nieces and my grandmothers.”