Renee Henderson: From TAFE NSW Graduate to Australian Fashion Week Innovator

Renee Henderson, the founder of Lychee Alkira and a proud Wiradjuri designer, is set to showcase her latest collection at this year’s Australian Fashion Week. Her designs will grace The Innovators runway on Tuesday, where she will present alongside some of the industry’s biggest names. Renee Henderson: From TAFE NSW Graduate to Australian Fashion Week Innovator

Renee Henderson: From TAFE NSW Graduate to Australian Fashion Week Innovator

Rising Star in the Fashion World

Henderson’s brand, Lychee Alkira, has been making waves since its inception. Earlier this year, she featured in the Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Mob In Fashion show, marking her presence in the industry spotlight. Her creative aesthetic is deeply influenced by Aboriginal art and storytelling, which she skillfully conveys through rich prints and sleek lines that honor and celebrate the world’s oldest living culture.

“The industry exposure and connections I have made have been instrumental to my success,” Henderson shared. “Mob In Fashion, a creative agency, offered me a place on their runway for emerging designers at Melbourne Fashion Festival shortly after I invited them to see my collection at TAFE NSW’s graduate runway show in November 2023.”

Renee Henderson: From TAFE NSW Graduate to Australian Fashion Week Innovator

A Collaborative Spirit

Henderson’s work is a testament to the power of collaboration. She has worked with fellow Aboriginal creatives, including Victorian-based Gunditjmara artist Bayley Mifsud, known as Merindah-Gunya. “Working with like-minded artists in this space is so rewarding. I look forward to continuing to grow my brand,” she said.

A Passion Ignited by Family

Henderson’s passion for fashion was inspired by her family’s legacy. “My great grandma was a seamstress, so fashion design runs in my blood,” she explained. Initially, Henderson studied business at university but soon realized her true calling was in fashion design. During her university holidays, she attended short courses at TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio, eventually enrolling in their Bachelor of Fashion Design program.

The Innovators Runway

Selected as one of four graduates from TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio’s Bachelor of Fashion Design program, Henderson is set to showcase her collection at The Innovators show at Australian Fashion Week. “It’s been an incredible experience, and it’s amazing to now be showing at Australian Fashion Week,” she said.

The Innovators runway provides a platform for emerging designers to present their collections to an audience of international and national industry professionals, including stylists, editors, and buyers. This opportunity is a significant milestone for Henderson and her brand, Lychee Alkira.

TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio: A Legacy of Excellence

Established in 1955, TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio has a rich history of producing top-tier fashion talent, including alumni such as Dion Lee, Zimmermann, and Akira. Entry to the program is highly competitive, with places offered based on strict criteria and a rigorous selection process. Following graduation, select students are invited to showcase their collections at Australian Fashion Week.

Head teacher Andrea Cainero, who has been with TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio for 20 years, commended Henderson’s creativity and commitment. “The TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio team is thrilled Renee’s label Lychee Alkira is already gaining exposure and recognition,” Cainero said. “Renee is a wonderful example of blending traditional Indigenous techniques with cutting-edge production methods to create stunning designs inspired by Aboriginal art and culture.”

Lychee Alkira: A Celebration of Culture and Collaboration

Lychee Alkira, meaning both a “gift for a joyful life” and a “bright and sunny” spirit, represents the sweetness and allure of the Lychee woman. The brand celebrates the fusion of Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures, embodying the joy of connection and belonging.

Henderson’s vision for Lychee Alkira revolves around collaboration as the ultimate form of respect. She partners with Indigenous artists, both young and old, to create exclusive, contemporary designs inspired by Aboriginal art and culture. By merging traditional Indigenous techniques with modern production methods, Henderson continues to build anticipation for her debut at Australian Fashion Week.

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