Clothing the Gaps is the fashion label supporting health and wellness for Indigenous communities.
Started back in 2018, the clothing brand is all about providing fresh modern with a social impact. The work to support wellbeing in Indigenous communities across the country, and educate individuals on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
About the clothes
Clothing the Gaps offers a range of colourful, modern clothes for all ages and styles. Their apparel features messages that allow customers to display their values proudly, and celebrate their heritage.
When shopping, customers will notice ‘Ally Friendly’ and ‘Mob Only’ labels. These are designed to help everyone support the brand in a positive and constructive way.
The company name is a play on the phrase ‘closing the gap’, referencing the Australian Government’s initiative to close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Aussies. This value is reflected in their mission to increase physical and mental wellbeing in Indigenous communities, achieved through the sale of their products.
About the brand
Clothing the Gap is based in Victoria and is primarily Indigenous owned. It was founded by Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson, and Sarah Sheridan, who is non-Indigenous. However, 81 percent of staff members are Indigenous. And, between 2020-2021, the company facilitated more than 9000 hours of employment for Indigenous individuals.
As stated on their website, their mission is to elevate, advocate and motivate. Clothing the Gap is more than just a fashion brand. It is a vehicle for promoting awareness and change, supporting Indigenous Australians across the country.
In 2020, they were awarded ‘business of the year’ at the Dreamtime Awards. This reflects their excellence in retail and entrepreneurship. They have also been awarded the Social Enterprise of the Year Award at the Kinaway Business Awards, which recognises a business that significantly contributes to the Indigenous community.
About the charity
Clothing the Gaps supports Indigenous individuals through their Clothing the Gaps Foundation. This is a not-for-profit run by public health professionals, and supported by the sales made from their apparel lines.
The foundation aims to help Indigenous communities increase their life expectancy by promoting the importance of physical fitness. This is achieved through the organisation of community fun runs, which are an exciting and spirited way to encourage exercise.
They have since developed ‘Mob Run This’, which is a virtual toolkit to guide individuals and groups in creating their own community events as well.
Clothing the Gaps Foundation also offer sessions for communities, schools, corporate groups and more. There are a range of sessions to choose from, including the popular Trad Games. Trad Games uses traditional Aboriginal games as an inspiration for health and wellness. Leaders from the foundation run the activities and teach participants about the history of the games in Indigenous culture. Wellah is another program, where health professionals deliver presentations on how to increase wellbeing in all aspects of life.
Clothing the Gaps is more than just a fashion label. It is a celebration of Indigenous culture, and a social enterprise focused on education and support. They want to ensure health and wellness for all Indigenous communities, while also allowing non-Indigenous individuals to educate themselves and harness their allyship.
To read about Indigenous artist Kathleen Buzzacott, click here.