In the Gibson Desert of Western Australia, 1,200 km east of Port Hedland, and 850km west of Alice Springs, lies the remote Aboriginal community of Kiwirrkurra. Normally a quiet town, the community gathered earlier this week for their first ever fashion show.
The show was the initiative of youth development officers, including Thomas Worrigal, who thought the program would provide a great opportunity for the local youth population. “We were running a basic life skills program here in Kiwirrkurra, all about grooming and self care,” he told ABC. “Basically they started grooming themselves, dressing themselves and the idea popped in my head.”
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The officers began seeking donations of clothing from all around Australia, and soon were inundated with dresses, suits and shoes. “A lot of the silk dresses and men’s suits come from Thread Together NSW,” said Worrigal. “They arrived in boxes, all taped up with notes on them saying, ‘I hope it goes to a good cause’.”
For parade night, an old store was transformed into the stage and catwalk. The catwalk itself was made out of old solar panels. Meanwhile around thirty locals dressed up backstage before strutting their stuff.
The event provided an opportunity for the Kiwirrkurra youth to dress up, have some fun, and build confidence. “The main aim to the whole thing, it was about pride, being proud of who you are,” said Worrigal. The event also was an occasion for this remote town to come together, and share in a sense of community pride.