Multiculturalism took to the runway in a celebration of fashion, stories, and creativity at FOMA 2023. In its fifth year, Fabrics of Multicultural Australia (FOMA) continues to foster an exciting and colourful community where the creative sector and beyond comes together to truly appreciate the diversity of talent in Australia.
The annual runway was held on Friday 23 June at the Powerhouse in Sydney. Designers, models, suppliers, foreign Embassies and High Commissions, and the public, all gathered to witness the grand display of colourful garments handcrafted in Australia by artists from a myriad of backgrounds.
Supported by the Department of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), FOMA importantly continues to build positive trade relations and economic engagement between those in the fashion industry as well as foreign government agencies and bilateral organisations.
This year, FOMA engaged 18 foreign governments through their program of 31 artistic exhibits.
As a celebration of the many cultures and talents across the Australian fashion landscape, FOMA’s partnership with DFAT naturally involves leaders meeting to recognise the significant achievements of industries that represent more than merely the artists themselves.
The FOMA 2023 fashion show ended with a grand finale of Fijian designers supported by the Fijian Consulate General and Trade Commission. In a display of colour, each Fijian design was influenced by the colours, patterns, and stories of Fijian culture making for a beautiful and lively parade. These Fijian designers included Tracey Ann Farrington, LavaLani, Sugarose, Hupfeld Hoerder, and Elaradi Fiji.
Other foreign partnerships included the embassies of Morocco, El Salvador, and Israel, with each garment worn by the Faces of FOMA models from multicultural backgrounds.
HOLYLAND CIVILIANS, supported by the Embassy of Israel displayed their range of streetwear garments weaving in their Israeli background infused with religious symbols and urban culture to create a unique style.
NAROK Design was a standout designer supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco and features handmade Moroccan handicrafts.
The Embassy of El Salvador supported Smoda, a cluster of Salvadoran brands that joined together to promote their country as an emerging space of creativity at an international level.
Another designer is Pooja Shah who is the founder of Pooja’s Couture, an Indian garment boutique. Her garments are always dazzling and made with impeccable detail and care.
Among the ranks of FOMA ambassadors is Colleen Tighe Johnson who is an indigenous designer from Regional New South Wales. As with each of her works, her collections are inspired by her own culture and generations of stories passed down. Like many other designers who showcase their works at FOMA, Tighe Johnson is highly experienced in her field and her works have been featured in Paris Fashion Week, Cannes Film Festival, and New York Fashion Week.
Yet it’s not only the designers and models that themselves share parts of their background and stories with FOMA, but the team behind this event have also long been committed to seeing multicultural Australia and particularly Western Sydney shine.
Directed by Sonia Gandhi from Gandhi Creations, an events business specialising in connecting cultures through quality events throughout Australia, FOMA is about giving a platform to people, groups and countries that represent the diversity of the Australian population. Having worked to produce the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence (WSABE) as well as Motherland African Festival in Liverpool, Sonia Gandhi understands that creating grand scale events is a key way to raise awareness for the hardworking creative talent in Western Sydney. FOMA is an echo of this, with hundreds of fashion designers profiled and empowered on the runway.
Such events are incredible when they showcase fashion, but FOMA extraordinarily also builds partnerships and trade relations within the sector and beyond.
FOMA is a stronghold example of multiculturalism in Australia which is so evident in the Western Sydney community – something well worth celebrating.
Proudly presented by Fabrics of Multicultural Australia