MBFWA: Roopa Pemmaraju

Many fashion designers have been inspired by Aboriginal art, however few have done it as strikingly as Roopa Pemmaraju. Her SS12/13 collection was a collaboration with Aboriginal artists from Coee Art Gallery, Desert Designs and Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation. Each piece features original artwork from many of today’s incredible artists including Jimmy Pike, Judy Napangardi Watson and Shanna Napanangka Williams.

In a new direction for Roopa, her usual kaftans were nowhere in sight and instead long, flowing gowns waltzed down the runway in bold oranges and blues. Never one to shy away from colour, she embraced an array of vibrant palettes and accentuated the lively prints with embroidered necklines and tasseled trims.

Although inspired by the Australian landscape, both Roopa and the artists portrayed our country without the clichés. It is also nice to know that the inspiration for this collection will benefit from the range, with 20% garment sales going back into the artists’ local communities. It’s also just as good to know Roopa incorporates organic fabrics (including bamboo and silk) and uses fair trade production.

A stunning collection all round and an incredible homage to the great Aboriginal artists of this era. Why can’t fashion do this more often?!

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