Symposium: Contemporary Australian Fashion Here & Now

Next date: Thursday, 02 May 2024 | 09:30 AM to 04:30 PM

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Join industry leaders, curators and designers for a full day of in-depth discussion about Australia’s fashion industry.

Learn about the history of Australian fashion, First Nations designers’ work, the significance of fashion as an instrument for responsibility, social consciousness and community collaboration, as well as a tool for cultural and environmental sustainability. Discover what does the future of Australian fashion look like?

In conjunction with MPRG’s current exhibition New Exuberance: Contemporary Australian Textile Design, speakers include Meryl Ryan, the exhibition curator, Paola Di Trocchio, a leading fashion curator, writer and speaker, formerly Curator Fashion at the NGV, Nathan McGuire, Director of Mob in Fashion, designer of ready-to-wear men's label SOLID OCHRE and leading First Nations model, Juanita Page, founder and designer of Joseph & James and Nixi Killick, New Exuberance exhibiting artist, designer and imagineer.

The symposium is held at Beleura House & Garden, a state-listed 19th century heritage house with an exceptional collection, original furnishings of its last owner composer John Tallis and stunning gardens designed and influenced by Latrobe Bateman, Edna Walling and Desbroe Annear. Enjoy lunch in the newly refurbished gatehouse, including gourmet ribbon sandwiches, a glass of Australian sparkling and sweet treats. 

Park at Mornington Golf Club (Tallis Drive) for the mini bus transfer to Beleura. Transfers start at 9.30am whilst the Symposium begins at 10am. Parking is not available on site at Beleura House & Garden.


Paola Di Trocchio, a prominent fashion curator, writer, and speaker, has curated and co-curated 22 fashion and textiles exhibitions during her two-decade tenure at the National Gallery of Victoria. Notable exhibitions include "Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion," "The Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift," and "200 Years of Australian Fashion." Currently, she is finalizing her doctoral thesis, investigating the extension of curatorial principles beyond the museum, focusing on fashion journalist Anna Piaggi.

Meryl Ryan, a seasoned curator, editor, and writer with over three decades of global experience, specializes in multidisciplinary projects. As the inaugural recipient of ANU's Janet Wilkie Memorial Scholarship for Fine Art, she has curated over 70 contemporary exhibitions and received prestigious awards, including the 2009 ASIALINK Curatorial Exchange to Japan.

Nathan McGuire is a leading figure in Australia's fashion industry. He is a Whadjuk Noongar man from Boorloo (Perth) and director of Mob in Fashion, an organisation that exists to elevate First Nations voices and representation ‘behind the scenes’ in the fashion industry. As the creator of fashion label Solid Ochre, his designs seamlessly blend contemporary aesthetics with Indigenous storytelling. Additionally, McGuire is a prominent First Nations model, amplifying cultural representation on the runway. Through his work, he advocates for Indigenous empowerment and celebrates the richness of Australia's diverse heritage.

Juanita Page founded the ready to wear menswear label JOSEPH & JAMES in 2021 with the ambition to elevate streetwear to an understated level of sophistication. The brand is an embodiment of freedom, empowerment, and celebration. Based in the vibrant cultural hub of Naarm (Melbourne, Australia), Juanita–a proud Gooreng Gooreng and South Sea Islander woman–imbues streetwear with a sartorial flair that is both high-end and accessible. Her designs are detail-centric, focusing on fit, form, and function, blending street silhouettes with premium fabrics and considered detailing.

Nixi Killick, an Australian fashion visionary, pioneers futuristic designs merging technology with avant-garde aesthetics. Renowned for bold color palettes and unconventional materials, Killick's creations challenge traditional fashion norms. With a penchant for sustainability and innovation, she captivates audiences globally with her boundary-pushing collections. Killick's daring approach reflects her commitment to redefining fashion's future while celebrating individuality and self-expression.


10.15am An abbreviated history of Australian Fashion
Paola Di Trocchio

11.10am There’s always been design: First Nations designers in Australian Context
Paola Di Trocchio, Juanita Page, Nathan McGuire

1pm Curators in Conversation: Understanding New Exuberance in Art, Design and Fashion
Meryl Ryan, Dunja Rmandic.

1.50pm For day and night: ready to wear textile design
Dunja Rmandic, Juanita Page and Nixi Killick

3pm Our fashion future
Full panel discussion with audience questions 

Image: Joseph & James, MFF24 BTS, Photographer Danielle Castano @dancastano


  • Thursday, 02 May 2024 | 09:30 AM - 04:30 PM


Beleura House & Garden, Tallis Drive, Mornington, 3931, View Map

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