Gali Swimwear Shines at Australian Fashion Week

Gali Swimwear Shines at Australian Fashion Week

Recognised for its creative fusion of First Nations culture and sustainable men’s swimwear, Gali Swimwear has once again captivated media, buyers, and consumers at Australian Fashion Week. The brand’s recent presentation at the Indigenous Fashion Projects First Nations runway has put Gali firmly back on the fashion radar. Gali Swimwear Shines at Australian Fashion Week

Gali Swimwear Shines at Australian Fashion Week

Taking to the catwalk at last week’s David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects runway, the Aboriginal-founded brand demonstrated that fashion – especially swimwear – can be sustainable, trendy, and culturally significant. Founded by David Leslie, Gali Swimwear aims to foster greater representation for Indigenous individuals and to serve as a catalyst for change.

“Our runways and collections are storytelling experiences, through fashion. It’s our mission to help share First Nations stories with the world and to let others experience the rich culture and creative talents of First Nations people,” Leslie told Style Up.

Gali Swimwear Shines at Australian Fashion Week

A Year of Milestones

Gali Swimwear has had a significant year so far. In March, the brand showcased a new collection at the Melbourne Fashion Festival, and in April, it launched a men’s underwear collection in collaboration with iconic Australian brand TEAMM8.

Participating as one of the selected designers in the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects IFP Pathways Program, Leslie brought a collection to the runway that reflected the program’s beneficial guidance and support. “We’ve felt very lucky to be part of the IFP pathways program – it’s not every day that a brand gets the opportunity to walk the Australian Fashion Week runway! Their creative team has been instrumental in getting us to be able to showcase at events like this,” he said.

“For Gali, the experience has opened doors that we wouldn’t have had access to and allowed us to form long-lasting relationships with brands like David Jones. All our learnings from participating in runways gave us the confidence to showcase at overseas events like Miami Swim and Resort Week.”
Image: Getty Images

Celebrating Success and Future Endeavors

Leslie expressed his gratitude for the IFP pathways program, which has significantly impacted Gali Swimwear’s growth. “This is our last year as part of the Indigenous Fashion Projects pathways program. I’m really looking forward to popping open a bottle of champagne to celebrate with the other designers, the IFP and David Jones teams, and everyone else who worked with us for the last two years throughout the program. The connections we’ve made through the program are what I’ll really take away from the experience.”

Reflecting on the talent of the other IFP designers, Leslie noted, “Gali is only a young brand, so this experience has allowed me to learn from others in the program and think about the industry a little differently.”

Staying True to Cultural Roots

Gali Swimwear’s collections always aim to stay true to their First Nations representation. The collection shown at AFW was no different, emphasizing the connection to one of their core values: country. “For this collection, we collaborated with Barkinji and Malangapa artist Jasmine Miikika Craciun. We had previously collaborated with Jasmine for our Para-Kiira Baaka collection – so we knew her designs would feel very GALI-esk. Jasmine developed these beautiful and intriguing prints by taking photographs of Country, which we’ve then edited to play with colour and dimensions – turning them into something new,” Leslie explained.

“This collection speaks to the deep respect our communities hold for Country, and for the importance of sustainability in preserving what we have for our future generations.”
Image: Getty Images

Innovating Through Art

In a bid to continuously bring something new and niche to the runway, Leslie ventured into photographic manipulation for this collection. “Though we’re only a year and a half old, we wanted this runway to feel different from last year’s collection, while still feeling like a part of the Gali brand,” Leslie said.

“This year we’re trying something new and are experimenting with photographic manipulation, something we haven’t shown before. Most people associate Indigenous art with paintings, so we really wanted to showcase a different medium of art to expand people’s understanding and appreciation for what contemporary Indigenous art looks like.”

Looking Ahead

For the remainder of 2024, Leslie has big plans for Gali Swimwear. “This year we’re focusing on prints, products, and partnerships,” he said. “We have new artist collaborations that we’re excited to launch, and we are working on launching new products in the upcoming months – keep an eye on our socials to find out.”

Gali Swimwear’s commitment to sustainable fashion and cultural representation continues to make waves, promising an exciting future for the young brand.

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