Indigenous Alice Springs youth put best foot forward at Yapa Styles Fashion Festival – ABC Online

Model Cheyenne Shaw looks at her reflection in a mirror

Stepping out into the brilliant lights on a style runway, a gaggle of first-time Aboriginal fashions from the crimson centre are displaying off their designs and newly-discovered self-confidence.

It's the first time lots of the 35 younger individuals concerned in Yapa Styles Fashion Festival have ever set foot on a stage, and with as much as 300 viewers members filling the Araluen Arts Centre, nerves are constructing.

The annual occasion in Alice Springs goals to spice up self-esteem, scale back substance abuse in the neighborhood and alter the unfavorable stereotype of youth within the city.

Two models stand on a catwalk wearing artistic designs

Eight-yr-outdated Cheyenne Shaw mentioned she was nervous backstage however felt "nice" when she was on stage in entrance of everybody.

"I like modelling and dressing up in garments, as a result of all of the attire are actually good," she mentioned.

"It is actually enjoyable."

This system started 4 years in the past, when founder Hannah Nungarrayi grew to become more and more involved and saddened by the variety of younger individuals and youngsters out on the road late at night time in Alice Springs.

"I am a mum so it hurts me, my coronary heart would break if I noticed my children strolling the streets," she mentioned.

Festival founder Hannah Nungarrayi stands alongside garments

"I needed one thing that the youngsters might really feel they might come to, really feel secure and be taught life abilities.

"There are some younger ones that simply put up a tough battle — to listen to their tales, to listen to their resilience, it is empowering."

With a background in design, organising a style pageant for Aboriginal youth made excellent sense for Ms Nungarrayi.

Over the previous 19 weeks, individuals have undertaken deportment and etiquette coaching, counselling, drug and alcohol schooling and discovered public talking and efficiency.

Kate Brown and Ellaby Kenneth hide in among garments on a clothing rack

A giant focus of Yapa Styles Fashion Festival can be the clothes, lots of which have been made by the younger fashions themselves to mirror their tradition and id.

However Ms Nungarrayi mentioned Yapa Styles — which suggests Aboriginal in Warlpiri language and sister in East Arnhem Land — was not likely about modelling, however giving individuals the abilities and confidence to put their best foot forward in life.

"My focus is on the inside particular person, I believe that is what makes the person," she mentioned.

Colourful garments, many with Aboriginal prints, hang from a clothing rack

"It is all about constructing their confidence, position fashions and leaders inside their very own circle of friends.

"What they be taught right here, all the nice qualities and values, they take again residence."

Kate Brown gave Yapa Styles a go for the primary time this yr and mentioned "it was a world of enjoyable".

"[I've loved] assembly new pals and making a stable group right here, it is very nice to have individuals I can discuss to," she mentioned.

"I've grow to be extra assured in dancing in entrance of individuals … as a result of I've had an actual situation with it, like getting on stage and performing."

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Indigenous Alice Springs youth put best foot forward at Yapa Styles Fashion Festival - ABC Online