MAINIE Australia, the fashion and giftwear company that builds its styles utilising authentic Aboriginal art works, has introduced its first collection for men.
Mainie’s founding director and designer, Charmaine Saunders said it was only a matter of time before Mainie released a collection for men that would complement the popular women’s range of wearable art spanning scarves, versatile tops and sarongs. The men’s collection ranges across pure silk neck ties, bow ties and suit pocket squares in a range of five authentic Indigenous artworks.
“There has always been a strong demand for Mainie to release its own range for men that would tick both boxes of fashion accessory and giftwear,” Ms Saunders said.
“With our brand now established and featured in retail outlets in both Cairns and throughout Australia, the timing is now right to add a men’s collection,” she said.
According to Ms Saunders, Mainie’s neck tie and bow tie boxed sets include “this season’s must-have accessory for men – a matching pocket square which is generously sized at 34cm x 34cm with a hand rolled hem”.
The silk prints are patterned after the natural environment of the artists’ homes. Designs span versatile earthy neutral and vibrant reef-inspired colour palettes in five unique artworks – two from NAIDOC Artist of the Year, Elverina Johnson from Yarrabah (Seahorses and Mangrove Life) and three from Queensland artist, Justin Butler (Snake Tracks, Protective Shield and Falling Leaves).
Mainie’s bow tie and pocket square sets retail for $100 each while the neck tie and pocket square sets retail for $110 each. All designs feature a matching ladies silk twill or silk chiffon scarf.
Ms Saunders created Mainie as an Aboriginal owned, ethical, fair-trade brand. Royalties from each sale are returned to the Warlpiri artists of the Tanami Desert in Central Australia and Dirringhi Arts in Yarrabah, North Queensland.
Ms Saunders first developed extensive and popular women’s collections in a mix she has described as the “special melding of two ancient cultures – where the Dreamtime meets the Silk Road”.
Authentic Aboriginal designs are by traditional artists from Central Australia’s remote Tanami Desert region. The silks used are from artisan silk-makers from “the fabled Silk Cities of China”.
“The original artworks featured in Mainie’s designs are based on ancient, ancestral stories and sacred ceremonial customs which have been passed down through many generations of Warlpiri women over thousands of years,” she said. “The rich and vibrant hues used by the artists perfectly reflect the awe-inspiring beauty of their desert homelands in the Australian Outback.”
Ms Saunders’s method is to present the collections as ‘collectibles’.
Mainie’s silk pieces are stylishly boxed with artwork authentication, artist biographies as well as each artwork’s Dreamtime Story in English, Chinese and Japanese.
AUSTRALIA’S first CoderDojo for Indigenous Australians, to close the digital divide and increase employment, has been developed by Barayamal.
CoderDojo First Nations is a national network of coding clubs being developed for Indigenous Australians, which aims to ‘close the gap’ by empowering Indigenous youth with coding skills to help prepare them for Australia’s ever changing economy.
The first coding club kicked off at Capalaba State College, near Brisbane, in the final school term of 2017, aiming to teach more than 60 Indigenous students how to code. CoderDojo First Nations has also gained interest from other schools and community organisations throughout Australia and plans to expand nationwide in 2018.
CoderDojo First Nations is an initiative of Australia’s Indigenous business accelerator program, Barayamal, and CoderDojo, the world’s leading volunteer-led community of free programming clubs for youth between seven and 17 years. Founded in Ireland in July 2011 by James Whelton and Bill Liao, as of January 2015 CoderDojo had more than 550 operating coding clubs (Dojos) in 55 countries.
“CoderDojo First Nations mission is to inspire and empower Australia’s Indigenous youth with coding skills, confidence and opportunities to achieve their dreams and create a better world and future for all who live in it,” Barayamal founder and CEO Dean Foley said.
He said according to Australian Bureau of Statistics research, more than half (53%) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were aged under 25 years in 2016.
“It is extremely important to have programs specifically for Indigenous youth because jobs are changing in the economy and becoming more digital and tech-skilled orientated, and we do not want this disparity gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to continue rising,” Mr Foley said.
“I reached out to existing non-Indigenous organisations that teach youth how to code but they were ‘too busy’ or ‘booked up’ and couldn’t help us teach Indigenous youth how to code. When I found out about CoderDojo and the positive impact they are creating, I decided to launch CoderDojo First Nations to create a national network of volunteer-led coding clubs so Indigenous youth don’t get left behind.”
The digital technologies market is expected to grow from $79 billion in 2017 to $139 billion in 2020, according to a report by Deloitte Access Economics in 2016. However, according to the latest government employment study, the Indigenous unemployment rate is currently 21 percent, an increase of 4.3 percent since 2008, and four times the current non-Indigenous unemployment rate of just over 5 percent.
“Through disempowerment and lack of opportunity, the Indigenous community in Australia has the highest rate of suicide of any community in the world,” he said. “By empowering Indigenous Youth, we can help re-shape these statistics and our communities.”
Deloitte Access Economics estimated that increasing economic participation of Indigenous Australians to parity levels could result in an Australian economy that is up to 1.15 percent larger in 2031, a gain of $24 billion in 2012-13 terms.\
Mr Foley said CoderDojo First Nations would partner with multiple educational organisations to run school and term based Entrepreneurship and Coding programs
SIGNIFICANT changes to Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) – including a new Indigenous Entrepreneurs Capital Scheme – are aimed at supporting a wider range of Indigenous businesses at various stages.
The Federal Government announced in May it was “reforming Indigenous Business Australia”. Already, Indigenous business participation has been raised in certain projects, such as the Townsville Stadium, and the new procurement policy has seen extraordinary growth in contracts awarded to 708 Indigenous businesses over the past 18 months.