By Abbey Cannan
A young Sunrise Beach couple’s apparel brand has gone global, giving a voice to First Nation Australians through fashion.
Proud Wiradjuri man living on Gubbi Gubbi country, Benjamin Thomson, launched the Take Pride Movement with his partner Tamika Sadler on Survival Day in 2019.
The entrepreneurs are fast becoming a well-known catalyst for change in the community, after organising a local Black Lives Matter protest in June this year, aiming to close the gap between First Nation Australians and non-Indigenous Australians.
Benjamin, who designs all the apparel by hand, said he wanted people to come together and celebrate the culture.
“I started off by making myself a custom leather jacket and everyone liked it, so it just went from there,“ he said.
“I know what designs I like, and I just wanted to put that out in the world and see how they felt about it, and I’ve had really good feedback.
“I created the designs from scratch from the patches, to the jumpers, hoodies, shirts, socks, and I then contacted a local screen printer.“
The young family sends all the stock from their home, with Tamika managing the brand online.
Since the launch, the business has taken off with 26,000 followers on Instagram and packages being shipped around the world.
“I think it’s a great way to get the message that we’re sending across to all people, especially to the younger generation,“ Benjamin said.
“Each piece comes with a message. Learn about the message and spread the love. With our brand we don’t really talk about the struggle, it’s all about togetherness.“
Benjamin said he wanted to see more indigenous entrepreneurs shining.
“I want to see more black businesses having a go. It’s really about showing our mob and Aboriginal people that we are about change and showcasing that,“ he said.
“It’s all about installing pride in our First Nations people and acknowledging the struggle for us to heal. It’s a journey for us to heal together, we must at least acknowledge what happened in the past but we want to come together with more solutions on how we can work better together. Our First Nations voices are being heard at the frontline because we are the people of this land. It always was and always will be.“
The key goal of the brand was to bring people together, Benjamin said.
“The brand is ally friendly,“ he said. “We get a lot of messages from people asking if it is okay for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait people to wear it. It’s perfectly fine, come in, wear our clothes. We are forced to dress a certain way for civilisation, why not come in and join us while we take part in it, with our own spin on it.“
The successful father, who is also completing a Bachelor of Education in primary school, said the right message needed to be taught in schools.
“Noosa is known for being a white, middle class area and not accepting of people from different cultures, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,“ he said. “I’ve copped a lot of racism myself living here, called a whole bunch of things. We just want to create a narrative for the community to come together and be more understanding.“
To join the Take Pride Movement visit https://takepridemovement.com