Denni was a recipient in the first round of the Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative.

Tell us about you and your creative work.

I am a proud Wiradjuri woman with over 25 years’ experience in the fashion industry. Having worked in design and directorship roles for fashion houses in Australia and the US, I created my first venture Billiecart Clothing in the late 90s.

In 2018, I founded the label Ngali to take First Nations artworks beyond wall displays and onto garments and collectables. I wanted to see the designs on the streets and for them show up in a myriad of places around the world. It’s a way to celebrate and share our culture with others.

For me fashion has always been about more than just looking good – it’s also about doing good. Ngali translates to ‘we’ or ‘us’ in a number of Aboriginal languages. Through Ngali we want to create a sense of ‘us’. We’d like to see a harmonious, sustainable and equitable union of all people with our Country and the planet.

How has coronavirus impacted on your life and work?

The coronavirus pandemic has definitely caused a lot of financial stress and anxiety in general. As a relatively new business we were just starting to gather a strong momentum so the current situation has set us back perhaps a year in terms of our plans for future growth.

How are you coping or responding at this time?

On one level coronavirus has provided the space to be more creative. As things have slowed down there has been opportunity to reflect. Victorian Government financial support has helped to ease some of the financial anxiety we feel.

Do you envisage new creative sector opportunities emerging from this crisis?

Yes definitely – I believe things will not necessarily return to what could be considered ‘normal’. The current situation demands us to be even more creative, to look for opportunities and explore different ways of doing things.

In three words, offer your fellow creatives some encouragement or advice.

Reflect, plan, recreate.

How has your recent Sustaining Creative Workers grant supported your practice?

The Sustaining Creative Worker grant has helped us to continue our creative pursuits so that we can translate them into commercial outcomes. The funding has allowed us to have something to work towards even though the environment has changed.

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