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Former Moree fashion designer plans to take Aboriginal fashion to the world stage next month

COLLEEN Tighe-Johnson has been selected as Australia’s only indigenous fashion designer to showcase Aboriginal fashion on the world stage at the Indigenous Runway Project in Saskatoon, Canada next month.

The former Moree resident is a proud Gomeroi Yinarr and Aboriginal fashion designer with a vast body of work.

Her designs have been modelled at several Australian fashion events, including L’Oreal’s Australian Fashion Week in Melbourne three years ago, the Indigenous Runway Project, last year’s Melbourne Spring Fashion and the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival this year.

Now based in Tamworth, Ms Tighe-Johnson’s work is marketed through Indigenous Fashion Unearthed, and the ambitious plan is to take Aboriginal fashion to the next level – the world stage.

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Colleen Tighe-Johnson (centre) plans to take Aboriginal designs to the world stage in Canada next month.

But to make the dream a reality, help is needed to cover expenses for the world trip.

Help Me Reach My Dream has been set up at www.gofundme.com with a $5000 target set in place.

“All donations, no matter how small, are very much appreciated and will help cover my travel costs to Canada,” Ms Tighe-Johnson said.

“The Indigenous Runway Project is a significant opportunity for First Nations’ designers and models from across the world to showcase their talent and culture, meet with industry experts and build international connections and networks – I am so proud to have been selected to attend this incredible event,” she said.

Ms Tighe-Johnson will be the only Aboriginal designer from Australia to attend the event and will travel with four Indigenous models from Melbourne, who will help showcase her designs.

“I use fashion as a medium to revive Aboriginal dreaming stories and the songlines of my ancestors,” Ms Tighe-Johnson said.

“My fabrics showcase the talents of local Aboriginal artists and through networking with Indigenous Nation groups worldwide, which helps create employment and career pathways for Aboriginal youth.”

As a Gomeroi fashion designer Ms Tighe-Johnson works with local artists to create Gomeroi artwork that holds cultural significance in the stories, places and themes that are depicted.

“I design, sew and create all of the pieces that will be modelled and tailor them to the Aboriginal models that will walk the runways at international fashion events,” Ms Tighe-Johnson said.

Ms Tighe-Johnson has for the past decade utilised her cultural knowledge and expertise to support the development of young people from Moree and Tamworth.

She has operated her personal consultant business, Buluuy Mirrii, since 2006 – encompassing cultural awareness training and Aboriginal fashion – and has a passion to one day operate her own modelling academy for young Aboriginal people.

“My goal is to combine Aboriginal art, culture and fashion and take it to the world,” she said.

People wishing to donate can click the direct link https://www.gofundme.com/2gshn84

Words: Bill Poulos

Image: Supplied