A chat with Amber from Wayila Creative
Amber from Wayila Creative was the mastermind behind a recent shoot featuring Shaz and Victoire, who were showcasing a selection of items from the Ikuntji x Magpie Goose collection. Amber is a descendant of the Bundjalung Biripi and Worimi tribes; she's based on Gumbaynggirr Wajarr land (Coffs Harbour, NSW).
We first met Amber at Woodford Folk Festival (2018/2019), and recently reconnected over Instagram. We’re big fans of her multiple endeavours!
Amber, we were so impressed by the striking photos, the styling and the creative direction. How did the shoot go?
The shoot with Shaz and Victoire wearing Magpie Goose was super fun! A last minute location change always makes things interesting! The idea was to celebrate Shaz and Victoire who are both great young women wearing the stunning Magpie Goose Clothing. I was quite proud of the set up we had this time- we had an array of accessories to choose from and the breathtaking backdrop of a local beach with a secluded cove (Gumbaynggirr Wajarr country / Coffs Harbour).
I absolutely love fashion and I love my Culture - being able to shoot either or both are what I would love to do more of in the future. I love being able to see the reaction from whoever I am shooting when they see the clothing they get to wear.
How did Wayila Creative come about?
Basically Wayila Creative has been an ongoing passion project of mine. I have been documenting life since I was young and this just seemed like a natural progression - I have boxes and boxes of photos from my teens and the travels my surfing took me on (I used to compete in Surfing competitions- which luckily took me overseas representing Aboriginal Surfing) I have a diverse range of cameras and equipment I’ve kept over the years. I worked various jobs when I was younger to support my obsession with cameras and travel!
Wayila Creative is a Management, Mentoring and Consultancy for Creatives - what does this involve?
Honestly where do I start! No day is the same with what I do with Wayila Creative - some days I’ll be taking pictures of young Aboriginal Kids dancing and having fun, then the next I’ll be at a media release for Tourism! Some days I’m taking pictures of the young Women I work with, but then we’ll go work together on a resume or I’ll help them with upcoming projects. I am so passionate about ensuring everyone I work with feels comfortable, empowered and has fun. I feel like I have a balance with the younger women I work with - I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been called the ‘hype girl’ (which I take as a compliment - I am wholeheartedly trying to ensure the people I work with feel confident in what they are doing!!)
Is Wayila Creative your main game?
I started taking Wayila Creative a bit more serious last summer but took some time to get a bit of confidence backing myself on the journey. Recent opportunities that have popped up have just propelled my desire to help create a culturally safe space for Aboriginal and other POC.
My day job is working at Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation- I’m involved in a few different roles, some days I’ll be in schools doing our Tutoring Program, some days I’ll be teaching language at a preschool, but most of the time I’m taking care of the Marketing, Social Media and some admin.
I also coordinate the Naru Surf Gathering, which was started by my family and I in 2017 to commemorate 20 years since my father died. We gather, surf and raise money to donate towards Mental Health Awareness. We have raised close to $10k since we started and this has been donated to various programs working within Mental Health & Well-being. We run this completely voluntary basis with some amazing members of our local community.
Wow you sure have a lot on your plate. And you also run Garuwa Clothing too! Can you tell us a bit about that?
My brother James and I started Garuwa Clothing in 2013 as we noticed there wasn’t much out there in terms of Indigenous clothing options (aside from the usual shirts linked to organisations etc). We were clueless at the start and kinda still are. We’re both really pressed for time lately, and without getting too deep I think the next step for us is to just try to sell the remaining stock and move on with our other endeavours! I feel we were a little bit early for the market and interest in Aboriginal Owned business.
Who have been your influences/role models?
I draw inspiration from Beyonce (don’t most of us haha) and the creativity that comes with her projects! There’s a bunch of amazing women I follow on socials that are doing some amazing things in an array of fields. I really love and reflect on my Grandmothers when I am doing what I am doing- both Aboriginal Women who faced and overcome so many struggles!
What are your plans for Wayila Creative going forward?
The future of Wayila Creative is hopefully bigger than I could anticipate! I will be here continuing to work with and empower Young Women, Families and Community in their endeavours. I am looking forward to a few new opportunities that have popped up working with some exciting new talent.
What kinds of brands would you like to work with?
I would like to work with brands that consider the environment, brands that have made a conscious effort historically to work with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders and brands that are open to unknown people such as myself to create opportunities for a fresh face in what feels like a very selective industry.
I hope brands feel they can reach out to Wayila Creative and have a conversation about how they can be more inclusive when it comes to working with First Nations People. And most importantly I hope the Younger Generation that are watching see and feel they are capable and deserving of opportunities!
Amazing Amber, you are such a powerhouse and we’re so glad we had this chance to hear all about your amazing work!!!
Learn more about Wayila Creative Agency at Wayilacreative.co