We wish to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers that this website may contain images and voices of people who are deceased.

CIAF Conversation - QLD Indigenous Fashion

View all Symposiums & Conversations

Can be viewed via the CIAF Facebook page


Join proud Noonuccal Nuugi man Wesley Enoch, a Stage Writer/Director and current Sydney Festival Director in conversation with Simone Arnol, Benita Williams, Lynelle Flinders and Hans Ahwang as they discuss their exploration of tradition and culture, by applying  techniques and practices with concepts of sustainability, through the showcasing of contemporary wearable art and fashion that is inspired by the paradisiacal surrounds of Tropical North Queensland.


Wesley Enoch

Wesley Enoch is a writer and director and the current Artistic Director at the Sydney Festival. He hails from Stradbroke Island (Minjeribah) and is a proud Noonuccal Nuugi man.

Previously Wesley has been the Artistic Director at Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts; Artistic Director at Ilbijerri Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative and the Associate Artistic Director at Belvoir Street Theatre. Wesley’s other residencies include Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company; the 2002 Australia Council Cite Internationale des Arts Residency in Paris and the Australia Council Artistic Director for the Australian Delegation to the 2008 Festival of Pacific Arts. He was creative consultant, segment director and indigenous consultant for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. 


Simone Arnol

“Keeping it grass roots while respecting the Elders, the keepers of knowledge.”

Descending from the Gunggandji Peoples through her father and her mother of Sicilian heritage, she uses this strong connection to family and country as a foundation for all of her works.

Inspired by the many Elders, children and all the Traditional Owners that has been a part of her life through her working career in Indigenous Law and Native Title, she continues to experiment and progress through different mediums with each piece keeping within cultural and mainstream sustainability.

Simone’s fabrics & textiles show a continued practice of traditional dyeing methods to produce the colours in her fabric using recycled materials. This method of traditional dyeing is a process which educates and may be passed onto the next generation. The indigenous models that wear Simone’s designs are taught these processes, so when you wear Simone’s designs you are getting a cultural education.

More recent years have seen her work within Fashion Curation, Events and Design. She has been showcasing at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair’s Fashion Performance for the last 5 years and co-curated this premier event for the last 3 years. Simone was the first Indigenous Designer at The Australian Eco Fashion Week in Perth, 2017.

As seen in all of her past collections, Simone combines class, unique & modern designs with powerful narratives to convey true messages of her history and her people.


Hans Ahwang

Hans originates from St Paul’s Community Wug Village, Mua Island, one of the Torres Strait Islands.

He completed his studies at Naisda Dance College and graduated with a diploma in Professional Dance and Performance in 2014.

Hans has combined his love of dance, fashion and culture into a multitude of roles and projects promoting Torres Strait culture and contemporary dance.  He has performed in diverse environments including Indigenous communities, schools, workshops, festivals both locally and overseas.


Lynelle Flinders

Lynelle Flinders is a textile designer and artist, her current practice as a textile artist showcases her works concentrating on hand printed textiles using various traditional and alternative materials to achieve her designs.

After achieving her Diploma in Cultural Arts, Lynelle diverted her artistic talents to designing textiles and creating fashion for her label “Sown in Time”. She has been involved with Fashion since 2013 and works with artists at Bana Yirriji Art Centre, Wujal Wujal, North Queensland designing hand painted silks.


Benita Williams

Benita Williams is an old indigenous model based in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. She is a proud Yalanji woman from Burungu (Buru for short and often referred to as Chinacamp) which is situated on the Creb Trak between Wujal Wujal community and the Daintree township.

She joined Lulu's model management and then graduated to BLAK model management who I was signed with for almost 6 years.

Benita has been involved in the CIAF Fashion showcase since it's inception in 2013.  Her greatest achievement was getting invited to London to showcase Jarawee at the London Pacific Fashion Week 2021.

CIAF 2020 Sponsors