STYLE

Aboriginal Storytelling In Fashion: Meet Designer Lyn-Al Young

"I can be a young Aboriginal woman using my culture in a respectful way to achieve whatever I put my mind to."

08/07/2016 10:39 AM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:56
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The Melbourne designer uses her ancestors' ancient tree markings as symbolism in her collections.

Lyn-Al Young, a 21-year-old designer from Melbourne, has just finished a final fitting with a woman attending Victoria's NAIDOC Ball.

The finished product: a custom silk hand-painted gown, the result of multiple consultations involving not only discussions of colour schemes and shapes but the swapping of personal stories between Young and her client.

Taking the time to hear and connect with each woman's story forms the basis of the design process for Young, who will then paint the woman's story on silk following their meeting using her own ancestors' ancient markings as symbolism.

"I feel that by connecting on a personal and spiritual level she will feel more confident and more connected to the dress," Young told The Huffington Post Australia.

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Lyn-Al's collections were shown at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, VAMFF and Australian Indigenous Fashion Week in 2016. 

"She will go out feeling proud and sharing her own story through her dress and that is a part of my story too," Young said.

This year has seen Young exhibit collections at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, VAMFF and Australian Indigenous Fashion Week.

Young comes from a long line of artists and began selling her own paintings aged 12 before discovering fashion design in high school.

"When I was younger, I loved watching old movies and I've always loved old Hollywood glam," Young said.

Givenchy would make dresses for her to match how she felt -- and to me that was really important -- the way that a designer can relate to a person and make them shine brighter.

French haute couture designer Givenchy served as a major inspiration for Young, as well as his muse, friend and biggest supporter, Audrey Hepburn.

"Givenchy would make dresses for her to match how she felt -- and to me that was really important -- the way that a designer can relate to a person and make them shine brighter," Young said.

As well as the 20th century couturier, Young's family is what inspires her work.

"Storytelling is really important in Aboriginal culture, it's a very sacred time," Young said.

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Young is a descendant of the Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta Nations.

"Ever since I was little we have been taught to sit and listen to our elders, parents and grandparents."

Young is a descendant of the Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta Nations and comes from a family of creative innovators and entrepreneurs. Her great-grandfather, a boomerang maker passed on his skills to Young's uncles and brothers and her great-grandmother, a musician.

"When we connect to our ancestors and as we learn more about our culture, we become stronger in who we are and our own identity," Young said.

I can be a young Aboriginal woman using my culture in a respectful way to achieve whatever I put my mind to.

It is not surprising that Young had the full support of her family when she decided to start her own label straight out of high school.

"A lot of people my age have been told to go to university or pressured to do it the way that society says, but my parents and family were so supportive and encouraged me to use my own story to share our culture," Young said.

Giving Aboriginal people and women, no matter their race or religion a voice through fashion is Young's mission.

"The media has a lot of negative views of Aboriginal people as well as negative views and images around how women should be and I want to stand up against that."

"I can be a young Aboriginal woman using my culture in a respectful way to achieve whatever I put my mind to for the next generation to come."

Lyn-Al Young will be exhibiting four of her eveningwear pieces at Westfield Doncaster until Sunday July 10 as well engaging in a 'Meet the Designer' discussion.

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