Q&A with Melissa Greenwood of Miimi and Jiinda

melissa greenwood from miimi and jiinda

We spoke with designer Melissa Greenwood about starting Indigenous Australian Art and Design label Miimi and Jiinda, and using fashion as a way to tell stories.


Opening image: Melissa Greenwood and her colourful Miimi and Jiinda designs. Image: Alice Payne. 

What first inspired you to get into fashion and design?

Being an artist and creative it felt like a natural transition from canvas to fabric, to see my artworks translated onto different mediums like textiles was really exciting.  Wearable art, a new way of telling unique and powerful stories, making people feel proud to wear them. I have always had an eye for colour, design and fashion… I love exploring different fabrics, colour combinations, trimmings and designs.

What is your favorite type of piece to create?

I love to create large scale artworks filled with an array of beautiful colours and mediums that tell an important and meaningful story. I also love to create a collection for the runway! Seeing my designs strutted down the runway on gorgeous Indigenous models that feel pride for their culture and feel amazing themselves makes me feel very proud that we are part of change in a predominantly western fashion industry.

What were some challenges you faced when first starting your brand?

Things moved very quickly so managing all aspects of the business whilst creating art was very challenging! When you come from a passion project/side hustle to creating a business model with new structures, systems and procedures in place (being key in your success) while keeping your core values authentic and strong was quite the juggle.


Melissa Greenwood of Miimi and Jiinda. Image: Alice Payne.

Where do you find inspiration?

Definitely from my Gumbaynggirr Jagun (my traditional homelands) where I live. All of nature’s gifts are here… the Gaagal (the ocean) which is the totem of our people, the Bindarray (rivers) and our Jullum (mountains), plus my family and all of our stories. Our Gumbaynggirr language, dreaming and creation stories are incredibly inspiring. Plus, my beautiful children and our culture.

What is the importance of community to both you and your business?

It’s very important. We love our mob and always try to contribute and give back where we can.

What has been your proudest moment?

Seeing my latest collection on the runway at Australian Fashion Week 2023 was an incredible moment, my beautiful mum walked the runway at 66 years old and my younger brother performed traditional dance. It was a very emotional moment. Or seeing my artwork on national TV channel 9 on The Block! Also, seeing my homewares collaboration with Adairs in homes all over Australia. Our first collection sold out in one day, across the country, 140 stores and online.


Melissa Greenwood of Miimi and Jiinda. Image: Alice Payne.



When did you know you wanted to create art and design clothing?

I have always loved both from a young age, but went on to study Justice Studies and Criminology at University as I was very passionate about helping mob. I worked supporting Aboriginal communities for 11 years, particularly Aboriginal youth. But then the opportunity arose to pick up the paintbrush and design that first piece of clothing…I haven’t looked back. But it is important for me to continue to give back to my indigenous community. I aim to provide Aboriginal mentoring positions in my business in 2024.

What are your goals for the future of your brand?

My dream is to take my new sustainable fashion collection to New York Fashion Week with an all First Nations team, mentoring mob and working together to make it happen. And of course, to keep creating art and creative projects that will share our stories with the world. I want to support my family and community along the way.

What is unique about your brand?

We are First Nations led, our business’s core values are authentic and purpose driven. We aim to create change and awareness for First Nations people, art and culture. Miimi & Jiinda are heart-led!

Where is your favorite place to holiday in Australia?

Tropical rainforests in Far North Queensland where my partner Abraham is from, and the islands in the Whitsundays.

Check out more from Miimi and Jiinda on their Instagram and website.


If you enjoyed our chat with Melissa Greenwood from Miimi and Jiinda, make sure to check out our interview with furniture designer Kate Small, and renowned artist Salvatore Zofrea. 

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