Milan Fashion Week is synonymous with beauty, luxury and arrogance.
The main point:
That’s where the rich and famous sit beside the runway, watching the latest trends from the world’s biggest fashion hubs being seeded by models who may not get out of bed on less than thousands of dollars a day.
Versace, Gucci, Armani, Ferragamo are regular customers.
Now, an Indigenous designer from Far North Queensland has been selected to share the stage with this major international label at next year’s Milan Fashion Week.
Gungarri-Pitta Pitta woman Cheryl Creed will be the first Indigenous Australian designer to appear at the iconic festival, with her collection selected for the Developing Talent category.
“I didn’t even think I was going to make it because I had looked at some of the designers and thought it was beyond my capabilities,” said Ms Creed.
“When I saw some of the designers and names of big fashion royals, I just thought ‘Geez, don’t tell me Murrii Quu was there with them’.”
Ms Creed said she applied to take part in the prestigious event after her label – Murrii Quu Couture – fell into a slump under the influence of COVID-19.
Like many other small business operators, Ms Creed is forced to work part-time to pay bills, while simultaneously trying to manage her label.
“I feel very proud that I will be the first Indigenous designer to be there because sometimes we think these things don’t happen to us.
“I hope to go out there and make paths and open doors, do networking.”
While news of her election has been welcomed, Ms Creed is still unsure if she will be able to attend Milan in person in March 2021, with the coronavirus pandemic and her own financial stress still weighing on her mind.
“I can only hope [COVID-19] all gone because I wanted to sit next to the beautiful Ms Donatella Versace, I wanted her to buy one of my designs and put it on, “said Ms Creed.
“I love being able to go anywhere because I’ve never traveled outside Australia, so it was a bit scary for me, sitting on a plane that long.
“But the pinnacle of all is to be there, sit with all the people, and see my designs on that platform and the world see it.”
‘Cute little size 20’
Ms Creed’s foray into fashion was almost accidental.
In 2014, his younger sister asked him to take part in an Indigenous fashion show.
“I gave him a ridiculous look because we had an image of that model; they were young and the size was eight and I was the exact opposite,” he said.
“But I did it, enjoyed it and came back for the second season in 2016 where I was modeling the scarf because there was no size for me.
“I just thought ‘I’m going to be a model of this scarf and entertain the audience and do it for a designer’ and I got a good reception from the audience.”
Backstage after the show, Ms Creed was among a group of people asked by the event organizers if they would like to show off their designs at next year’s show.
“Without thinking my hand just went up and I said ‘I!’,” Said Ms Creed.
“They just said ‘OK, see you next year with your collection’ and I thought ‘Damn, what have I done’ because I don’t come from a designer background and have no experience.
“I’ve always enjoyed clothes and grooming and things like that and whenever our family had dos we’d dress up in hats and gloves and make-up and wigs, so I think it all came from there.”
Ms Creed is now raising funds to pay registration fees for Milan Fashion Week and to help pay for travel and accommodation costs in the Italian style capital.