Born in the red soil of Port Hedland and raised by the sea, Bardi, Nyul Nyul and Nyikina designer Nat Dann wanted to design a swimsuit.
However, it can get in the way of life.
After ten years hampered by lack of resources and time, Dan is finally fulfilling her dream of creating swimwear.
In May, she debuted the latest collection for her brand and label Ihraa Swim at Australian Fashion Week. Less than six months later, she’s taking this collection to her New York Fashion Week in September.
Dan said the real reason he started his swimwear label was the birth of his daughter, Ahri, after whom the label is named.
Ihraa Swim (Aarhi spelled backwards) is Dan’s ode to his daughter, family and country.
Making beautiful work isn’t Dann’s only goal with the label. She also strives to ensure that all the clothes she creates are taken care of by the country.
Designed by fellow Headland artist and designer Bobby Lockyer, the prints are made from recycled plastic waste from the ocean.
“Ahri, it really was until I had my daughter,” Dunn said.
“And instilling the importance of taking care of our country and our land was really important to me.
“And we spend a lot of time at the beach, thinking about my dream of building a swimwear brand and how it’s sustainable, green, and does its part in helping the environment.
“So it was a really big moment for me to talk to her about everything and know what she was looking at. I felt like I needed to get it done.”
Family is a big part of the work and creativity Dann puts into his swimwear brand.
Dan said he was proud of his great-grandfather’s legacy.
“It’s also for my family and the legacy of my great-grandfather (Matthias Dunn) who moved to Port Hedland very early,” she said.
“And he worked hard to give my family opportunities and established primary education in Portland.
“And he was one of the first Aboriginal men to fight for the right to own land and homes in Port Hedland.
“I think he worked hard because he really stands on the shoulders of giants.
Starting in 2021, Dunn said one of her goals is to be successful on big runways around the world.
“When I first started Ihraa Swim, one of my goals was to finally stand on that runway,” she said.
“So from Australian Fashion Week to New York, I’m still pinching myself.
“But I think it’s a testament to how far I’ve come. People look from the outside and think that these wonderful opportunities have suddenly appeared for you.
“But it’s actually been 10 years behind the scenes.”
Dann and Ihraa Swim will showcase the collection as part of the Flying Solo show at NYFW on September 10th.