Indigenous sisters dream come true with the launch of Myrrdah label, Vogue feature and Fashion Week plans

Posted on

Being on the cover of Vogue magazine has always been a dream for the Kalkadoon sisters, Dale Bruce, Cheryl Perez, Glenda McCulloch, and Jaunita Doyle.

Indigenous woman wearing neutral colored clothes posing for photo
(Left to right) Cheryl Perez, Jaunita Doyle, Dale Bruce and Glenda McCulloch.(Provided: Jaunita Doyle)

“There’s an Instagram filter where you can put yourself on the cover of Vogue and we’ll always be messing with it and joking around,” Glenda said.

“Since forever — that’s been our dream all along. We’ve always wanted to do something with clothes.”

Just months after launching their fashion label Myrrdah, the sisters turned to the glossy pages of Vogue’s May 2022 issue to see their designs featured in the main spread.

“I just thought it was ridiculous,” Glenda said.

“We couldn’t believe how fast this all happened. This is our first break in all fashion and to start our label with an appearance in one of the biggest fashion magazines in the country … is simply amazing.”

Seven Indigenous women walking through the desert landscape wearing pink and maroon patterned clothes
Models wear pieces designed by Myrrdah using their Cungella art work.(Provided: Jaunita Doyle)
An Indigenous model wearing a shirt and pants in a pink Indigenous artwork pattern, in a desert landscape
A model wearing a Myrrdah shirt and pants.(Provided: Jaunita Doyle)

The success of the sisters did not stop there.

This week, they’ll be watching their designs walk the runway at Australian Fashion Week in Sydney.

“I mean, we must be doing something right,” said Glenda.

“I just can’t believe how far we’ve come.”

Dazzling from the dust

As descendants of the Kalkatunga tribe, the red land of Mount Isa, Queensland, has always been an important part of the sisters’ lives and something that feeds their creativity.

Their journey into fashion design began with their love of art.

In 2019, Glenda founded Cungella Art to share her culture with the rest of the world.

Four women posing on the beach in designer clothes
First Nations models Cindy Rostron, Magnolia Maymuru (wearing Myrrdah pants), Charlee Fraser and Elaine George Tanaka (wearing Myrrdah gown) appear in the May 2022 issue of Vogue.(Provided: MFPR, photography by Jess Ruby James)

“We always painted. Our parents, uncles and aunts always went to the bush and painted artifacts,” he said.

“When the Black Lives Matter movement reached Australia, interest in our art skyrocketed.”

It was their mother who inspired them to make the leap into fashion.

Load

“He shows us how to choose which works of art are suitable for fabrics.”

So in 2020, the sisters launched Myrrdah, named in honor of their great-grandmother of the same name.

A group of Indigenous women wearing colorful clothes
The sisters, who own the arts business Cungelella Arts and fashion label Myrrdah, said they were inspired by their mother (center).(Provided: Jaunita Doyle)

Production during a pandemic

Starting a fashion label during lockdown isn’t easy, the sisters say.

Load

“We weren’t able to actually visit Melbourne where our designs were processed into fabric, so we had to collaborate via Pinterest boards and text messages to actually produce the work for Vogue and [fashion week]said Janita.

Some preconceived notions about the glamor of the fashion world are of course overturned.

“We usually work at 11pm. The kids are still awake running around, fighting around us while we drink tea.”

As they watch their work float down the runway this week, it will be their first time seeing their work up close.

“We haven’t really touched the fabric yet,” Jaunita said.

Regardless, the sisters didn’t let anything stop them from launching their debut collection this month.

But they say customers have to beat their mother to get some valuables.

“We’ve told him his collection is very limited, but he’s already claimed he’s got a few pieces, so good luck to anyone who opposes it,” laughs Jaunita.

Glenda said it would be an emotional experience.

“All of our works are representations of Mount Isa and our homeland. This is the story of the country out here,” he said.

An Indigenous woman poses for a photo in a desert landscape wearing a pink and neutral patterned dress
Designer Myrrdah and Cungelella artist Juanita Doyle.(Provided: Jaunita Doyle)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.