Maggie McGowan & Laura Egan | Katherine
Named after a bird native to the top end of Australia, Magpie Goose is bright, bold and unapologetic. The Social Fashion Enterprise, co-founded by Maggie McGowan and Laura Egan in Katherine NT, showcases beautiful textiles, designed and hand screen-printed in remote Aboriginal communities. Their bright, bold prints are crafted into simple statement pieces that let the textiles do the talking. They express traditional aboriginal art and design in a contemporary, fun and exciting way, each design telling a story - of people, place and culture.
Magpie Goose is named after a bird native to the Top End of Australia. The magpie goose sits right up the top of the tree all day eating mangos and having the time of its life. Like it’s namesake, Magpie Goose is bright, bold and unapologetic. Magpie Goose prints and patterns are bright and radical. They express traditional aboriginal art and design in a contemporary, fun and exciting way. Each design tells a story - of people, place and culture. Clothing designs are simple and classic (natural fibres!) - letting the textiles tell the story.
The label was co-founded by Maggie McGowan and Laura Egan. Until recently Maggie was working as a lawyer at NAAJA (North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency); she now works on Magpie Goose full time. Laura is CEO/Founder of Enterprise Learning Projects- a not-for-profit business incubator committed to creating new economic opportunities for Aboriginal people in remote Australia.
Magpie Goose aims to be a powerful vehicle for creating new economic opportunities in remote Australia. They purchase fabric in large quantities from remote art centres - which enables them to grow, offer more jobs in the community, pursue their own social enterprises, and keep their centres strong.
As Magpie Goose grows, they aim to offer employment and training opportunities for these communities in various aspects of the business. In addition to commissioning new designs to be screen-printed onto fabric, they anticipate roles in retail, storytelling/content production for their website and social media, modelling, media liaisons/spokespeople etc.
Magpie Goose’s first range showcases textiles from four remote community art centres - Palngun Wurangat (Wadeye), Injalak Arts (Gunbalanya), Tiwi Designs (Wurrumiyanga) and Babbarra Women’s Centre (Maningrida).
The simple, statement designs are dreamed up in Katherine NT by Maggie and Laura, and tested out/put into practice in partnership with Ayu, their Balinese tailor.
"We have kept the clothing designs very basic so that the prints can tell their stories – of remote communities, artists, bushfoods, dreaming, culture and art. The clothing is made by a network of family-run tailors in Bali (local to the NT - just across the Timor Sea!) with care, and skill."
Magpie Goose aims to feature new and exciting screen-printed textiles with each range. In addition to working with existing art centres, it will assist Aboriginal art centres without screen-printing facilities, and artists who are not connected with art centres to get their designs and stories onto screens, onto fabric, and into the wardrobes of the world!