Telling the stories of the First Nations’ peoples of western Queensland through fashion

Red Ridge (Interior Queensland) Ltd was established in 2009 as a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of creating healthy and resilient communities in remote western Queensland by bringing people together in art and cultural activities.  

The organisation runs activities throughout central Queensland, supporting the development of visual arts, performances, literature, design, film, and multimedia projects to develop a viable economic pathway for people living in remote communities. 

Red Ridge’s ‘Canvas to Catwalk’ project operates under the ‘Red Ridge the Label’ fashion program. Established in 2020, Red Ridge the Label tells the stories of the First Nations’ peoples of western Queensland through wearable, commercial fashion. The Canvas to Catwalk project provides skills training for First Nations’ artists interested in creating commercially viable fashion from their art. It translates the work of First Nations’ artists onto fabric and into fashion.  

The program also looks to market this unique fashion through fashion shows and major tourism events, such as the Birdsville Big Bash.  

Red Ridge General Manager Louise Campbell said the Red Ridge the Label fashion brand engaged Aboriginal artists to bring their culture and language to life through fashion that publicly walked and talked.  

“Our long-term vision is to leave a lasting legacy through innovative new creative business strategies that respond to market demand by producing marketable goods and services, creating sustainable new jobs in production and manufacturing,” Ms Campbell said. 

“Fashion is a collaborative artform that relies on the varied skills of textile designers, manufacturers, makers, stylists, marketers, models, photographers and videographers, distributors and designers – thereby creating many employment outcomes for the region and addressing a Red Ridge priority for increased employment.” 

The organisation has a shop in the towns of Blackall and Longreach. 

Sisters Joyce Crombie and Jean Barr-Crombie are two of the artists whose work has been translated into fashion. 

Growing up in Birdsville, the sisters tell the stories of the Wangkangurru and Yarluyandi people. 

The sisters’ work captures the vibrant colours of the Diamantina, including the red of the sand dunes, the yellow of the wattle, and the green of the western rivers in flood. 

In 2022, Red Ridge the Label’s Canvas to Catwalk project received $60,000 in Advance Queensland Regional Futures Collaborative Projects funding to deliver creative skills workshops in six remote communities across Central West Queensland, with artists producing 20 new artworks for fabric printing. 

The Advance Queensland Regional Futures Collaborative Projects program supports regional innovation leaders to collaborate with partners to unlock Queensland’s economic potential, whether by solving a significant problem or creating an opportunity for the regions.

Last updated 22 Aug, 2023
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