Lyn-Al Young is a 21-year-old designer from Melbourne. She designs personalised garments out of high quality silks and natural dye creating original pieces of wearable art, each with its own personal story and symbolism. Lyn-Al has created custom pieces for Kalinya Director Jirra Lulla for major events.
What makes you proud to be a Koorie woman?
Everything! I am so proud to be Koorie, I love my culture!
It makes me so proud because of our Ancestors and what they have overcome and sacrificed with such strength and resilience to make a better future for their descendants. The knowledge of this through stories from my parents and Elders makes me stand strong and proud, my culture is my inspiration for all my creative works, it also inspires me every day in everything I do, I want to honour my culture and people by following in my ancestors footsteps of using my cultural instincts and innovative spirit that has been passed down to create a better future for the next generation.
How did you get into fashion design?
It’s been a really natural journey into fashion I come from a fashionable and stylish family who are all very creative in many different areas, I feel it is in my blood.
My first mini design I made was when I was 8, then when I was 10 I started making denim hand bags from old jeans and incorporated indigenous inspired fabrics and beads and started selling them age 12 at the Koorie night markets around Melbourne. In VCE (year 11 &12) I studied fashion design, and as I was finishing year 12 I decided not to go to uni as I didn’t flourish in the school structure, so with my parents encouragement and support I decided to just go for it and set up my own business.
Since I was a young girl I’ve always known I wanted to work for myself and I encourage anyone who has a dream or passion to write up a plan of where you want to be in the future, what you want to achieve, just set short term and long term goals, learn to believe in yourself and your natural gifts and talents, draw from your cultural roots as it will strengthen you, and you will succeed!
Lyn-Al is a values lead business, can you tell us about the values that drive your work?
Authenticity is a core value of my work and by this I mean creating designs that are from my culture that represent my markings and stories. Integrity is another one I want to pay respect to my cultural traditions but also the culture of the women who wear my designs and honour them through the artwork to be true of their heritage. Respect for one’s identity and body image is also a core value of my designs, I want to ensure that I design according to the values and expectations of my clients.
You come from a very entrepreneurial family, how has that shaped your journey?
Growing up and participating in a business environment has definitely helped me to develop an appetite for my own business. One of the key questions my siblings and I have been asked by our parents growing up was; “do we want to be a consumer or a producer?” It’s in our spirit and heritage to produce, whether it’s our artefacts, artworks, clothing and so on. Being innovative and just believing that we can run our own business has been part of growing up in our family.
What has been a career highlight for you?
Being invited to the young Indigenous entrepreneurs and innovators event with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Parliament House. I would have to say would be my career highlight so far, it was such an honour to be acknowledged and celebrated by our country’s government along with some really inspiring Indigenous business people.
And your dreams? Where are you heading?
I dream of becoming known across the globe. Presenting and promoting Indigenous Australian culture through my art and fashion on an international level. I want my brand to be seen at the most prestigious events, worn by the world’s most influential and inspiring people.
What has been your involvement with Kalinya?
I designed an outfit for Jirra to wear to the Hawthorn Presidents Function in Brisbane to reveal her Guernsey design for the dreamtime round. It was such an honour to dress her, as she is such an inspirational woman and role model to all young women, including myself.