IS IT OKAY?
Let's talk about Cultural Appreciation, a concept that is very significant for us. We are frequently asked: "Would it be offensive for someone of non-Indigenous background to wear your clothes?"
Our response to this question is always a resounding "Not at all, go for it"!
When you wear our clothing, you're showing your appreciation, support and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture. But more than this - you're providing an opportunity to start positive conversations and open people up to new ways of thinking.
We invite everyone to learn about the encouraging stories behind the artworks and encourage you - regardless of cultural background - to jump on board and join us in this exciting journey through wearable art and fashion.
What our artists say?
We've asked some of our collaborating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists for their thoughts on this topic, and here's what they said...
from New South Wales, Australia
"I believe that any way of expressing Indigenous culture in a respectful manner is a huge positive for everyone involved. Wearing Indigenous designs as a non-Indigenous person does not mean that you are trying to be Indigenous, it just means that you are respectful of the culture, supportive of the artist who created the design and that you might just enjoy wearing something a little more unique then just a blank tee from a chain store. It is all about supporting small business and supporting unique art/artists with stories behind the pieces."
from Queensland, Australia
"I use my art to educate others on my culture, share experiences and stories that are important to me growing up on country or about family. I believe there are certain designs or stories that should not be used as they are too sacred, however this is something I always consider during the design process. I am beyond happy for people of all backgrounds to wear my designs."
Kala Lagaw from Iama Island,
the Torres Strait Islands, Australia
"I would be very happy if non-Indigenous people wore clothes with my artwork. Indigenous designs are for all to enjoy, and if wearing them opens up conversations about our culture within the broader Australian society, then these clothes with their designs have an important role to play. I would be flattered if I walked down the street and saw someone wearing clothing with my designs! "
from South Australia, Australia
"I don’t at all find it disrespectful or offensive if someone of non-Indigenous descent wore Indigenous inspired clothes. If you are purchasing Life Apparel clothing, I believe you are supporting and honouring in a respectful way our culture. Each design has a story behind it and it is educating non-Indigenous people who can then pass on knowledge to others."
Lardil, Kullili and Yuggera
from Queensland, Australia
"As long as the artwork on the garments are done by authentic Indigenous artists and the artist is treated fairly with the use of artwork then I see no issues. Having a garment on you done by an Indigenous artist is more than fabric on a body, it's a story and rich history of 60 000+ years of of culture delivered to you in the form of clothing. I believe and fully support non-Indigenous people wearing Life Apparel garments featuring authentic Indigenous art."
from Northern Territory, Australia
"From my perspective as an Aboriginal Artist that has sold my own designs; I am sharing my art – my dreaming and stories with you, and I give permission for you to have, hold, use and wear my art. I would be more than happy for people of any cultural background to respectfully represent my culture."