Let’s get loud – Magpie Goose is the social enterprise putting fun back into fashion
Way up in the top end of Australia, there is a native bird that has a bit of a reputation. Perched at the apex of its tree, munching on fermented mangoes and squawking away is the magpie goose, a creature that personifies the attitude of not actually giving a damn what anyone else thinks. This majestic little thing just does precisely what it wants, which is what makes it the perfect namesake for a clothing label that is loud, proud and unapologetic. Meet Magpie Goose, the fashion social enterprise that’s kicking ass and making noise.
As well as creating delightfully fun fashion, the Magpie Goose mission is twofold – to create a conduit for non-Indigenous people to connect with Aboriginal art, culture and stories, as well as generating new economic opportunities for Aboriginal people living in remote Australia. The label is currently being incubated by Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP), an organisation dedicated to fostering and supporting grassroots business development in partnership with remote Aboriginal communities. The first Magpie Goose collection is a bold and punchy collection of classic dresses, shorts, skirts and tops, with all 12 eye-popping patterns designed and printed in four remote Aboriginal communities across the top end – Palngun Wurnangat Aboriginal Corporation in Wadeye, Tiwi Design in Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island, Injalak Arts in Gunbalanya, and Bábbarra Women’s Centre in Maningrida.
Magpie Goose has recently run a workshop in Katherine, Northern Territory (where it’s based) to gather some new designs for next year’s first drop. Artists Katherine and Rhonda Duncan from Urapunga, along with Stewart Hoosan and Nancy McDinny from Borroloola, were brought on board for creative input in the collection, designing an exciting range of prints that are sure to get people excited. The future is looking bright and busy for Magpie Goose, with the brand currently looking for the right space to set up a cultural hub. The grand plan is for a space that combines the screen printing side of the business with a bricks-and-mortar shop, as well as providing a base for some of the other initiatives that ELP incubates – think a bush tea business (Gulbarn) and a cultural bike tours business (Speargrass) for a start.
Ready to get loud? You can shop the full range of Magpie Goose gear through the official online store.
Image one: Margot Bunduck in (Babbarra Women’s Centre) Dora Diaguma’s Murnubbarr Karrolka, flying magpie geese print top; and and Patsy Tchinbruru in Jean Baptiste Apuatimi Jilamara print (Tiwi Design). Photo by Maggie McGowan.
Image two: Stewart Hoosan (From Borroloola) and Millie Shorter printing Stewart’s ‘Ringer’ design at a screen printing /design workshop for Magpie Goose in Katherine, August 2017. Photo by Maggie McGowan.
Image three: Marita Perdjert in Tiwi Design, Bede Tungatalum ‘pukumani pole’ print top; and Babbarra Designs Dora Diaguma’s Murnubbarr Karrolka (flying magpie geese) print shorts; and Patsy Tchinbruru in magpie geese top, and Tiwi Designs Jean Baptiste Apuatimi’s Jilamara design skirt. Photo by Maggie McGowan.