First published by Vogue Australia, September 2023 (Page 91). Author Alice Birrell and Jonah Waterhouse.
Vogue Vanguard celebrates emerging game-changers and innovators. We platform the First Nations creatives following a path hard-fought by trailblazing forebearers. Here, how they’re shaping a better version of fashion.
Liandra Gaykamangu‘s fate as designer of her swimwear label might have seemed like a straight path – a Yolngu girl from a remote island in East Arnhem Land who grew up surfing and loving fashion. Not so.
Before the 32-year-old began making her patterned, reversible swim pieces in palettes drawn from land, sea and sky, Gaykamangu was an English teacher. A break for maternity leave gave her space to gather her formative influences and her label Liandra was born.
Feeling out a state of mind precedes doodling on her smart tablet where her unique patterns are destined for streamlined one-pieces and minimalist bikinis.
Originally hailing from the same town as Vogue’s cover girl, and her niece Tarlisa Gaykamangu, she’s known already for prioritising sustainability, but says she’s motivated by a picture bigger than just environment.
“Sustainability for me is about our country, people and culture,” she says, citing the continuation of culture as something she’s seeking to sure up.
Conscious of treading lightly, she uses innovative low-impact fabric dyes and fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. It’s part of her plan to one day take the brand global.
“We can use that platform to share the richness and beauty of our country and culture”