Magpie Goose is an ethically produced fashion label from the Northern Territory that’s come along and blown everyone’s socks off with their contemporary Indigenous designs.
Last April, Maggie McGowan was having a drink at Darwin Ski Club when her partner, Laura, asked her what she would be doing if she wasn’t a welfare rights lawyer. The answer wasn’t hard to find – she’d often thought about the potential of the screen-prints being made in remote Aboriginal communities around the NT.
By the end of the night, Magpie Goose was born; a label comprised of bright, bold and unique prints entirely hand printed by local Indigenous artists in the Northern Territory. A Kickstarter project soon followed with the goal of raising $20,000 to fund the first run of garment construction. They raised $100,000 in the first week and haven’t slowed down since. The pair have now opened an online store, and featured in pop-up stores and markets around the Northern Territory, Sydney and Melbourne, selling out almost every time.
The label is currently working with four communities around the Northern Territory: Palngun Wurnangat Aboriginal Corporation in Wadeye; Tiwi Design in Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island; Injalak Arts in Gunbalanya; and Bábbarra Women’s Centre, Maningrida. The artists are given complete freedom of design, with McGowan describing the garments themselves as just being a “blank canvas” for the artists to print on.
Each garment tells a unique story, with prints featuring Dreamtime stories, traditional motifs, and the stories of landscapes and people, in a bright, bold, and completely contemporary way. The artist’s own daughter’s and granddaughter’s are also often utilised as models, making it also a 100% wholesome and inclusive label.
The prints are bought directly from the artists, and then sent for manufacturing by Sphinx Australia, an Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) accredited workshop in Bankstown, Sydney. So not only do Magpie Goose’s designs look great and support local artists, they’re also ethically manufactured.
They also utilised the recent cyclone in Darwin as an unusual but eye-catching backdrop for a photoshoot:
Basically Magpie Goose are pretty cool, and you can hop on over to magpiegoose.com if you want to check out their full collection. While you’re there I definitely recommend checking out the “Stories” tab for a closer look at the process behind constructing each garment. It’s very interesting, very feel-good, and very worth the read.Would you wear Magpie Goose’s unique designs? Comment below!