THE ICONIC, in partnership with First Nations Fashion and Design, launches a first-of-its-kind program to foster the next generation of First Nations designers.

the iconic fashion

SYDNEY:  Australia and New Zealand’s leading fashion and lifestyle platform, THE ICONIC, in partnership with First Nations Fashion + Design (FNFD), the national voice for First Nations creatives, is proud to announce the launch of THE ICONIC x FNFD Incubator Program for First Nations designers. The co-designed program is an extension of THE ICONIC’s long-term partnership with FNFD, which brings together THE ICONIC’s leading e-commerce experience and global network as a part of Global Fashion Group (GFG), with the expertise and perspective FNFD brings from their existing community engagement and industry influence. Expressions of Interest for the eight-month program opens to aspiring First Nations designers from Thursday, 1st December 2022, with the program commencing in April 2023. 

Informed by ongoing feedback from the First Nations creative community, the program will offer First Nations designers inclusive, real-world learning opportunities through mentorship, workshops, gathering, events and tangible resources, with the aim to create commercially viable and sustainable business models. The program will collaboratively address the unique challenges faced by First Nations designers in the mainstream retail ecosystem, such as establishing culturally sensitive and sustainable ways to scale. Additionally, it will provide THE ICONIC with a unique opportunity to learn from First Nations designers in an effort to ensure the fashion retail environment, and its platform, better facilitates the economic empowerment of Indigenous business owners.

Grace Lillian Lee, Founder and CEO FNFD said, “It’s fantastic to see a major retailer like THE ICONIC show real, tangible support and commitment to the First Nations fashion community. Interest in First Nations fashion has exploded in recent years, with designers like Nungala Creative and Clothing the Gaps piquing the interest of the mainstream with considered, sustainable and beautiful designs that pay respect to country and culture.”

Erica Berchtold, THE ICONIC Chief Executive Officer said, “We are incredibly honoured to be launching this Incubator Program in partnership with FNFD. The talent within the First Nations community is a force to be reckoned with, and we’re proud to have had the opportunity to co-design and co-develop such a robust program as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the growth of First Nations fashion. Working in allyship with Australia’s First Nations peoples is deeply important to us as we play our part in contributing to the long term economic viability of the First Nations fashion industry.”

Applicants to THE ICONIC X FNFD Incubator Program will be reviewed by a selection panel made up of leading experts from the fashion, design and First Nations communities including; FNFD Founder and CEO, Grace Lillian Lee, Global Fashion Group’s Chief Brand Partnerships Officer, Melanie Smallwood, Indigenous model and Australian icon, Elaine George, Founder of Australian Indigenous Fashion, Yatu Widders Hunt, Australian designer Johnny Schembri of By Johnny, Harper’s Bazaar’s Fashion & Features News Director, Patty Huntington and Carriageworks’ Director First Nations Programs, Jacob Boehme. The panel will select three aspiring First Nations fashion designers to complete the 2023 pilot program over the course of eight months.

The 2023 Incubator Program has been designed as a comprehensive pilot, which will set the tone for an annual intake of new creatives. The program will be open to First Nations creatives of all backgrounds and generations and is not limited to just fashion designers, with jewellery and accessory designers, graphic artists, textile artists and more encouraged to apply.  Further details will be announced early in the new year, including the appointment of three established First Nations creatives to act as cultural mentors to the successful applicants, alongside three retail industry leaders. The role of the mentors will be to provide a combination of cultural guidance and industry expertise throughout the duration of the Incubator program and beyond. 

The relationship with FNFD forms a key part of a First Nations-led approach to THE ICONIC’s Indigenous Engagement strategy, recently announced as part of THE ICONIC and GFG’s vision to be People & Planet Positive. The 2030 strategy outlines five strategic pillars designed to drive positive environmental and social change, while looking after its people. FNFD has also supported the penning of THE ICONIC’s Innovative Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is designed to guide THE ICONIC’s ongoing reconciliation commitments from 2023 – 2025. FNFD participated in the advisory panel through 2022, providing valuable insights to inform the drafting  of the Innovative RAP. 



FNFD is an NFP Indigenous Corporation, and has recently become a registered charity whose core business is in supporting the growth of Indigenous Fashion. We are a national voice representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members, creating ongoing access to the Australian industry through opportunities, skills development, and industry engagement.

We are working towards a self-sustaining ecosystem of  Aboriginal Fashion Designers, Textile Artists, Jewellery Designers, Photographers, Models, Hair + Makeup Artists, Stylists, Curators, and Fashion Industry Professionals. We are 100% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of Directors and Executive team. We pay equal attention to the cultural and commercial considerations of our members. For more information please visit: 


THE ICONIC is Australia and New Zealand’s leading fashion and lifestyle platform. Since 2011, it has defined the future of retail by creating a seamless and inspiring shopping experience for its customers. THE ICONIC boasts fast delivery across Australia and New Zealand, with free shipping over $50 and free returns for 30 days. THE ICONIC is Australia and New Zealand’s most downloaded fashion app with over 5 million downloads to date. THE ICONIC has thousands of international and local brands and products across Women, Men, Sport, Beauty, Wellness, Home, Designer, Kids, Toys, and Considered, with hundreds of new products curated on-site daily. A proud member of Global Fashion Group, the world’s leader in online fashion for growth markets, THE ICONIC is focused on bringing on the future of shopping in Australia and New Zealand. For more information, please visit


Global Fashion Group is the leading fashion and lifestyle destination in growth markets across LATAM, SEA and ANZ. From our people to our customers and partners, we exist to empower everyone to express their true selves through fashion. Our three e-commerce platforms: Dafiti, ZALORA and THE ICONIC connect an assortment of international, local and own brands to over 800 million consumers from diverse cultures and lifestyles. GFG’s platforms provide seamless and inspiring customer experiences from discovery to delivery, powered by art & science that is infused with unparalleled local knowledge. As part of the Group’s vision is to be the #1 online destination for fashion & lifestyle in growth markets, we are committed to doing this responsibly by being people and planet positive across everything we do.