NAIDOC Indigenous Fashion Show

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It’s a first for our area … mark your diaries for the inaugural NAiDOC Indigenous Fashion Show on July 14, showcasing garments from at least seven different fashion brands! It will be an evening of glamour, with both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous models walking the catwalk at the Manning Valley Race Club. Local model and community-minded woman Trisha Pearson explains the effort she and her hardworking committee have invested into the event …

Hi Trisha. Tell us a little about yourself and your relationship with the Manning-Great Lakes area …

Hi Jo. I’m Trisha Pearson, and I’m a proud Biripi woman – age 24. I was born in Perth and raised in Taree.

I have worked in different areas of the town, but at the moment I work at Hogan Plumbing, the Manning River Hotel and I model for Jodadi.

I love playing and refereeing touch football; I’m the highest ranked female and Indigenous referee in Taree. I like to represent my community in different ways, with modelling, sport and volunteer work such as the fashion show and youth programs.

I believe I have a good relationship with the Manning-Great Lakes area, as I like to commit myself to do a lot for our community. My partner always thinks I take on too much on ha ha!

When did you first become interested in modelling – and what are some of the shoots you’ve been involved with over the years?

I first became interested in modelling when the Flair Fashion Awards were around; I was 15 years old. I remember they did a workshop on how to look after yourself, how to apply makeup and what was good for you to wear and eat. It was the best day, because you don’t learn all of this in school. I went to the casting day, and they were impressed with how confident I was. I was placed in the show … and I’ll never forget how nervous I was walking on that catwalk! Everything was sweating ha ha!

I was accepted to be in a fashion show in Melbourne as part of the VAMFF (Virgin Australian Melbourne Fashion Festival). I was there for a week, and I called it model boot camp! I have never been so sore from modelling in my life, and I was the sport type too!

I am now the face of Jodadi, a fashion brand in Taree – who are amazing. I did photoshoots for Global Indigenous Management, ACTS Streetwear, Indii Swimwear, The Birdtree, Manning Florist. I still would like to add to my portfolio more and see what else is out there I can achieve; it’s a hard world but very, very worth it! I have achieved all this on my own, as I haven’t been scouted, but this doesn’t stop me from achieving what I want.

To be honest, I don’t know exactly what I would like out of the modelling world – but I’m enjoying every moment of it so far.

You and a very busy, enterprising group of young people are hard at work organising the first NAIDOC Fashion Show for our area. How did this idea come about – and who are some of the brains behind the concept?

The idea actually came from Nancy of Indii Swimwear. Last year Nancy did a show in Kempsey similar to what we are trying to achieve here, and at the end of the show she told me I could do this in my own community. At first I said no – I thought I couldn’t do it and let it go.

But then, I was working at the YMCA and was part of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) committee, and they were trying to think of ways that the YMCA could be involved within the community and with the Indigenous youth. I told them the idea, and they loved it. They left it in my hands to create, and from there I have asked a few fellow members in the community whom I see as inspirational to be part of my team.

I work very closely with Darren Mumford, who is still part of the RAP and has helped me every step of the way and also Joshua Sgarano, who is our photographer but very clever when it comes to marketing and bringing events like these together.

I’m very lucky to have an awesome team who want to help, as I don’t think I could have done this on my own.

What do you and your committee see as the aim/s of the show?

The main reason why I decided to do the show is because when I was growing up, I had Flair Fashion to learn and gain experience from, but now there is nothing! With the NAIDOC Indigenous Fashion Show, our youth will have an opportunity to learn, experience, gain confidence and knowledge.

When I returned from Melbourne, so many young girls messaged me and asked how and where could they go to do what I did. I need to do this show for them! They deserve to be a part of something amazing in their own town, before adventuring out and paying money to get it elsewhere. This will give them a chance to meet other girls and boys, learn their stories and also pay absolutely nothing to be a part of a show and gain a little bit of experience, before going into real work and achieving their dreams!

As a committee, we want to create this show to bring the community together; we believe there aren’t enough events like this. We want to create this as an annual event, learn from what we do each year and make it better and better.

When and where will the show take place this year?

The NAIDOC Indigenous Fashion Show 2018 will be on Saturday 14th July at the Taree Race Course, Bushland Drive, Taree, at 6pm.

You’ve received a terrific amount of community support to date. Who are some of the retailers/fashion labels that will be represented on the catwalk?

Yes, we have – and it was a massive surprise to see how many fashion brands were happy to support us. We have seven at the moment, and they are Jodadi Fashion, ACTS Streetwear, Stash House, Iguana, Sportfirst Taree, Indii Swimwear, and Ossix Swimwear.

It’s a nice variety of clothing brands. Indii Swimwear will be our only Indigenous fashion brand, and next year we will hopefully be getting more. This provides a massive opportunity for our models to walk on the catwalk.

What other support have you received?

We have received massive support from our sponsors, such as Manning Valley Race Club, BIRIPI, Catholic Community Care, Elders Real Estate, Manning River Hotel, Hogan Plumbing, Burrun Dalai and Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services. We are also receiving support from Officeworks, Clontarf, Bushland Tukka Café and PCYC for extra things like hall space, food and promotion.

All the support we have received helps us massively. Some of these sponsors put forward $1,000! We couldn’t believe it, as it’s a first event and to have so much support already is amazing and makes us as a team so determined to make this night successful!

It’s early days yet, but run us through the night’s programme as you hope it will unfold. How many models will be a part of the show, and will there be other entertainment and refreshments available at the event?

I have planned a few different ways for the show to unfold, but right now I have planned for guests to arrive at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. The guests will all sit down, and the show will begin with a cultural Welcome to Country dance. Jesse Shilling will be the MC for the night, and he is quite excited to be given this opportunity. We will then do our Welcome to Country and speeches from our major sponsors, and commence with the fashion show and performances in between. We will close the show with a big finale of the final run with all our models, and then our last performance will be Miss Nova Gina, part of the Dream Time Divas!

After the show, everyone can get photos taken with the models and performers.

We will be having 40 models, male and female, Non-Indigenous and Indigenous.

There will be plenty of appetisers offered before the show starts, and the first 100 tickets purchased will receive a gift bag of goodies as a way of thanking them for coming.

The fashion show will be held during NAIDOC Week, which this year will be celebrated from 8 – 15 July. The theme for NAIDOC this year is “Because of her, we can”. What does this mean to you personally, and how do you feel your event will reflect this theme?

This year’s theme means a lot to me, as I am one out of seven, but first I was one out of five living in Perth. My mother raised all of us on her own, and when we moved to Taree we lived with my grandmother, who raised us until we moved into our own home – then my mother gave me another little brother and sister, making me one of seven.

My mother inspires me to do more every day and is always there for me with wise words. My grandmother challenges me and tells me stories of our culture, the history of our lands and our own family history, making me feel truly proud of who I am. The theme this year fits perfectly within me – because of her, I can.

The show will reflect the theme by giving confidence in the women participating, and we will be decorating the show with pictures of women who inspire us and make us who we are today. We will be having a female elder do the Welcome to Country as well, which will be very special.

Where can tickets for the event be purchased?

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at three different locations: the YMCA Taree (Manning Leisure Aquatic Centre), Jodadi Fashion Store in Manning Mall Taree, and Taree High School (by seeing Katie Hogan).

For further info: contact Trisha Pearson

0412 324 902

Thanks Trisha.

Photos Joshua Sgarano – Arthouse Media

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