Clair Parker is a fashion designer on the rise. Late last year, she was awarded the very first Indigenous Scholarship at the prestigious Whitehouse Institute of Design and is set to formally take up her studies in just a few weeks.

Clair grew up between the Tiwi Islands (Wurrumiyamea) and Darwin and has always been interested in art, drawing and painting. Inspired by designer Jean Paul Gaultier, these past few years, she has been busy teaching herself the art of fashion sketching in the hope of one day creating her own collection.

With dreams of going to design school to bring her ideas to life, 22 year old Clair moved to Sydney from Darwin seven months ago and not long after arriving, stumbled upon the open call for nominations for the inaugural Indigenous Design Scholarship.

After a competitive selection process, Clair was officially presented with the scholarship by supermodel Samantha Harris at the Whitehouse 25th anniversary celebration.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about the history of fashion as well as the practical side of things”, she said. “ After I finish my studies, I hope to start my own fashion line with traditionally designed garments to help put my culture on the map globally. I strive for success and to set an example for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples around Australia.”

Influenced very much by her cultural heritage, Clair hints that we can expect to see lots of colour, tribal patterns and Tiwi designs in her work.

She is extremely grateful to be able to work with the Whitehouse Institute and for the chance to take the first step in starting a professional career in fashion.

“I want to put the garments I’ve created on the runway for Australian Indigenous fashion week, hopefully within a couple of years,” she said. “At the moment, I am working on my sketches and creating the ideas for my collection. I hope to start out by manufacturing pieces myself and I’ll be able to learn the skills to do that through my scholarship.”

She is looking forward to being inspired by this year’s inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week saying it’s another brilliant step to making history and most importantly to keeping traditional art strong and showcasing design work, passion and the vibrant culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

You can purchase tickets to the Inaugural Australian Indigenous Fashion Week at www.aifw.com.au