Known as Foxy for her loud and outrageous personality, Nyibany is a proud Dinka Fashion Designer in Melbourne who will soon reveal her new collection of African print garments on June 21st at the Yapa Styles Fashion Festival in Alice Springs. Hannah Trindorfer, an Aboriginal woman from Alice Springs, a Designer renowned for nail design and neckties with Indigenous prints, invited the talented Nyibany to showcase her work among other Indigenous designers. Nyibany shares with Far From Africa her debut on an Aboriginal fashion show.
Nyibany, which means ‘Queen’ in Dinka language, is leading the Revolution Collection to challenge the conventional seasonal changes in fashion. Queen Nyibany Designs aren’t subject to the traditional Winter/Autumn collection, “with African colours, it’s Summer everyday”, she says bursting into laughter. Her designs are very personal with a “twist of modernity”, playing with fabrics from chiffon to satin. Her collection in Alice Springs promises to harmoniously merge with Australian Indigenous patterns and colours.
Fashion isn’t a new thing in Nyibany’s life, it all started a few years back in South Sudan. Nyibany still remembers as if it was yesterday arriving in Australia on the wintry day of July 31st, 1997. After years spent in Australia, in 2006 her father organised a family trip to his native home of Rumbek, capital of the Lakes State, for the children to reconnect with their roots. Nyibany describes, “Rumbek is very green place, everybody speaks to and knows each other. They grow fresh organic food. You always have someone to speak to and to offer advice if you need assistance. People are very united and that is why they do not suffer from mental illness. You are never on your own”.
This trip to South Sudan and other parts of Africa was an eye opener for Nyibany, “in 2006 the situation in South Sudan was tough”, and this was quite confronting for a young woman who grew up in the urban cities of Khartoum, Cairo and Melbourne. In 2008 she decided to move back to South Sudan and start working in media. She successfully worked as a News Anchor, then became a News Producer and Editor and managed to air her own television show, Foxy Showbiz. She pioneered in South Sudan to air one of the first entertaining shows as she interviewed the most talented, trendiest and most entrepreneurial people of the moment. Wearing her home-made outfits for Foxy Showbiz exposed her talent and taste for style. The demand for her creations elevated her to a new career in fashion. The same year she opened her own boutique in South Sudan.
She now brings her mosaic of colours and fabrics to Australia and will present a collection where, like paintings, her garments are titled. She depicts The Revolution Collection as “very elegant, classy, timeless and wearable. It represents a new era of transformation of colours, fabrics and prints for African and Western cultures”. Contrary to her Foxy personality, she declares “the collection reflects my identity and what I sometimes try to hide to others”.
It is certainly this flamboyant elegance that caught the Designer Hannah Trindorfer’s eyes to blend African designs with Indigenous ones. Nyibany describes their first encounter last year in Melbourne at the Indigenous Fashion Unearthed Show as “love at the first sight”. “There is a wonderful spirit about her, she is a very humble woman and even if she is established as a Designer, she keeps working hard and never believes she has done it”.
This collaboration between these talented women brings a strong message, “we are black and we are working together to achieve a positive change in the world. We share our own stories and mine is about motivating young women to independence, to work hard. They can always do better”, says the mother of two children, full-time student and Fashion Designer. Back in Central Australia, Hannah acts as a mentor for Indigenous youth to show them ways to express their talents and skills to empower the younger generation.
Proud of her heritage, feeling good in her skin and well surrounded by professionals like Hannah, Nyibany’s career is by no means hanging by a thread. She is ready to roll out her designs for a children’s collection and is currently designing a unique piece for Thando Sikwila, one of the finalists of The Voice.