30 November

Darwin Art Fair Foundation in collaboration with Arts Law

Arts Law is collaborating with the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) on the development of various resources for Indigenous artists, art centres and arts organisations for use when engaging, or considering engaging, with a designer or fashion house in developing an artist’s images on textiles and fashion items. IP Australia is also a key partner in the project.

The project will span 2021 and 2022 in terms of developing resources and education programs and will continue beyond that date with the support of the key partners in an ongoing role as needed. There are two elements to the project. The first is the development of a website which will contain the materials and information to guide people on what to think about when embarking on an Indigenous fashion project, the various pathways or options that can be followed and what to think about when going down these paths. These pathways will be accompanied by links to various resources that can be useful, from information sheets to read up on the legal and commercial issues to consider through to template contracts to govern the legal relationship. There will also be various other education resources such as videos, podcasts, webinars and live workshops.

The second element to the project is to develop skills for artists and art centres in weaving practices and the commercial steps surrounding the marketing, manufacture and supply of those products. This part of the project is being assisted by Helen Kaminsky, a renowned global accessories brand which is working with selected art centres.

Project materials will address Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

Often in a relationship between an Indigenous artist and a fashion designer or fashion house, there is an imbalance of power and resources. Best practice resources are designed to help correct that imbalance and to protect the weaker party in the transaction. Often the artist may be the weaker of the two in the negotiation simply because their ICIP isn’t protected by Australian law at present. Art Law continues to advocate for legal reform in this area.  

This is an exciting collaboration and we expect to develop skills and experience and create a great set of resources for people to be able to refer to when engaging in an Indigenous Fashion project. We are confident that the materials created and knowledge shared as part of this collaboration will have a meaningful impact on the Indigenous fashion sector.

The Indigenous Fashion Project is being funded for DAAFF by the Australia Council. Arts Law has received funding from the Thyne Reid Foundation to work with DAAFF on the Indigenous Fashion Project.