Fashion has long looked to Australia’s ostracized indigenous culture for inspiration. But it looks like this might finally be having an effect that goes beyond a new summer print. Desert Designs was one of the highlights of MBFWA recently, breathing new life into the artwork of a deceased Aboriginal artist. The inaugural Australian Indigenous Fashion Week, which fell only a day later, picked up where they left off with a showcase of indigenous culture and design that sought to show the world “it’s not just dots.”
Now Ingrid Verner is issuing another challenge to the industry. The designer only launched her namesake brand Verner in 2012, but her Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, titled “White Wash,” is very confident in its criticism of the “white Australia policy” favouring Caucasian immigrants. This is a collection that was made to cause a stir.
If the phrase “White Wash” didn’t have such negative connotations attached, the collection is certainly able to be very appreciated on a solely aesthetic level. Shape-wise, it’s big on oversized street wear, vibing a litte off children’s wear too. Think comfy things you can move around in. It’s also more understated than we’ve seen in the past. Chalk that up to normcore, if you will. Midi lengths and loungey separates run throughout, and the socks-and-Birks styling can’t go without a mention.
But the fabric details are where things really get interesting. Off-whites and greys suggest “white” is more complex than it may first seem, and textural details like quilting, ribboning and puffy dots add a further element of diversity. Verner was also inspired by the work of Aboriginal artist Destiny Deacon, who made heavy use of Australian kitsch iconography, black memorabilia and dolls.
If you needed another incentive to stay away from all those overseas chains popping up this winter, Verner is it.