Magpie Goose is a social impact business that partners with Aboriginal artists to create powerful statement clothing. The designs tell unique stories of people, place and culture, are hand screen printed onto natural fibres and made ethically into wearable art here in Australia.
The Magpie Goose mission is twofold:
One: To create opportunities for non-Indigenous people to connect with Aboriginal art, culture and stories through fashion
Two: To grow new market opportunities for Aboriginal people within the textiles and fashion industry
Magpie Goose creates impact in the following ways:
Magpie Goose creates impact in the following ways:
1. Social procurement
Purchasing textiles from remote Aboriginal art centres
Aboriginal art centres play a really important role in remote communities. They are a place for artists to work, to access supplies and to make money through their art. Art centres are a vital source of employment in communities, employing retail staff, screen printers, managers, tour guides, and much more. In remote Australia, where jobs are often scarce, income earned by one employee or artist usually goes on to support a large family network. Art centres are also often places of innovation – responding to tourism trends, isolation / remoteness, and the growing market for Indigenous art and textiles in creative ways (e.g. accessing online markets, looking at other tourist experiences such as cafes and tours, and hands on experiences such as textile printing). Sales of the products created at remote art centres are pivotal to their survival.
Magpie Goose purchases textiles, and licenses designs directly from Aboriginal Art Centres.
Since our launch in December 2016, Magpie Goose has channelled over $403,000 into Aboriginal art centres and to independent Aboriginal artists, through textile purchases and licensing payments.
Michael Naborlhborlh and Gabriel Maralngurra screenprinting Manme (bushfoods) design created by a collective of Injalak women, at Injalak Arts, Gunbalanya NT (photo: Injalak Arts); Magpie Goose working with HopeVale Arts and Cultural Centre
Contracting Aboriginal models
Wherever possible we engage Aboriginal models. For many of the people we work with it is their first experience modelling, and getting paid for their work / time. As of August 2020 we have engaged and paid 62 Aboriginal models from Minyerri, Wadeye, Kalumburu, Haasts Bluff, HopeVale, Melbourne/Fitzroy Crossing and Katherine. We look forward to engaging more Aboriginal models from across Australia as we continue our journey of sharing these stories through fashion!
Kalumburu girls; captured by the Kalumburu Photography Collective
Engaging Aboriginal photographers
We aim to work with Aboriginal photographers.
In late 2017 Magpie Goose engaged three Aboriginal photographers from Kalumburu Photography Collective to shoot a look book for Magpie Goose. This was constructed as an enterprise learning project, with the photographers responding to a brief with an allocated budget. The project involved location scouting, recruiting and directing models, editing photos and supplying the final photos to Magpie Goose.
We look forward to undertaking more collaborations with Aboriginal photographers.
The Kalumburu Photography Collective
2. Supporting learning and skill development
Facilitating Textile Design workshops
There are many communities that do not have the benefit of an art centre, but are home to passionate artists with lots of ideas and aspirations to create art. We work to support these artists and communities by facilitating textile design workshops. These workshops provide both skill development and income generation opportunities, as Magpie Goose works with these artists to license their designs for upcoming ranges. The artists are able to create in a new medium, receive income from the licensing of their designs, and gain widespread exposure through their collaboration with Magpie Goose.
As at August 2020 we have worked with 71 artists, across 12 communities, generating over $370,000 in licensing payments to artists/art centres.
We are always exploring ways we can support these artists beyond their collaboration with Magpie Goose.
Cissy Unghango working on her Mission Fruits design in Kalumburu;
Rhonda Duncan working on 'Pandanus Story' in Kath
Screen Printing Workshops
We are always looking at ways to create more training + learning opportunities for Aboriginal people within Magpie Goose. Screen printing has been a great opportunity in the past, and we are continuing to look at this for the future!
Our first in-house screen printing pilot took place for two weeks in September 2017, where our textile / screenprinting consultant Millie Shorter trained five Katherine jobseekers in screen printing at Katherine Regional Arts. Over the next two months, Magpie Goose engaged the five on a ‘payment per metre printed’ basis them to screenprint hundreds of metres, enabling them to earn over $5000 collectively.
Offering product development workshops
(earrings and accessories)
In 2018 we worked with Elbow Workshop to come up with an accessory idea that could be a 'blank canvas' for various emerging Aboriginal artists across Australia.
As at August 2020 we have delivered this earring making workshops to 57 artists in four communities to date (Katherine, Alice, HopeVale, Ardyaloon), and will continue to run these workshops with communities we are working with on textile design!
Mentoring and supporting Aboriginal people who are navigating pathways into the fashion industry
We are currently mentoring an emerging designer from Bulman community in the NT through a partnership with Enterprise Learning Projects.
This is an emerging space for us; and we are excited to do more in this space.
3. Providing a positive way for people to connect with Aboriginal Culture
The clothes that we create using the textiles designed by Aboriginal artists provide an opportunity for people to connect with, learn about and celebrate Aboriginal cultures.
We see Magpie Goose as a powerful platform to showcase and share these designs and stories, and we work hard to do this – through growing the market for our clothing, and through our communication channels. The artist videos and bios we create enable people to hear directly from the artists themselves, and we form a connection that goes beyond simply the item of clothing. We receive regular feedback from our customers about how much they value this opportunity.