Cheeditha backdrop for fashion shoot
The red dirt tracks and corrugated iron buildings of the Cheeditha community near Roebourne are a striking backdrop for a grassroots fashion project about to make its public launch.
The community recently hosted the first photo shoot of a fledgling fashion collaboration between Cheeditha Art Group and label Sturt Pea Conscious Clothing, which involves Cheeditha artists’ designs hand-painted or screen-printed onto lightweight, comfortable clothing intended to be worn by Pilbara residents.
Community members Katherine Hicks, 17, and Cassandra Hicks, 9, modelled the 10 garments the collaboration has produced so far for photographer Helen Osler among the burnt-out sheds and cars of the old Cheeditha community.
Sturt Pea designer Emma Williamson said holding the photo shoot in Cheeditha itself was a “no-brainer” because local ownership was an important part of the fashion project.
“It’s Cheeditha and it’s their artwork and I wanted them to feel like it belonged to them,” she said.
“I wanted to definitely have Cheeditha people be a part of it, the artists and their families, and there was a really great model in Katherine and her sister, so that was all just too good, really.”
The pictures will promote the brand at the Karijini Experience this weekend, where two of its first garments will be on sale at the markets.
Cheeditha Art Group artist Wendy Warrie said the project was a progression from other textile designs the recently formed group had done.
“We were doing cushion covers, and then Emma came and she saw it was good and she wanted to put it on clothes,” she said.
Ms Warrie said the transition was not very difficult as it was essentially the “same stuff” but she enjoyed seeing her unique designs of swirled lines, flower motifs and goannas on wearable art.
“My painting has one story in it — Dreamtime stories,” she said, noting every artist in the group had their own inspiration.
Ms Williamson said she was excited to be launching her own label and the early products of its collaboration with Cheeditha at a major local event and “this will hopefully be just the beginning”.
“(The photos are) so we can show people what we’ve done and what we’re capable of,” she said.
Katherine Hicks, 17, models a Sturt Pea Conscious Clothing dress for photographer Helen Osler and designer Emma Williamson.