Monday, July 8, 2013

NAIDOC guest blog #1 - Dion Devow

My name is Dion Devow and I am an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man and the founder of Darkies Design.  I was born and raised in Darwin but moved in Canberra in 1994 to attend university and after graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Education in 1997  I decided to stay in Canberra.  On my father’s side I am Manbarra, and we are Traditional Owners for the Palm Island Group in North Queensland, and South Sea Islanders( Kanakas) from Tanna Island.  My Mothers people are from Erub or Darnley Island in the eastern Islands of the Torres Strait. 
Darkies Design is a clothing range for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I started the business because I had a concept about creating an Indigenous clothing line and was encouraged by family and close friends to create it, but also because I wanted to be able to wear fashionable clothes that expressed how proud I am of being an Indigenous Australian.  My use of the word Darkies was deliberate, in that I want to reclaim the word Darkies, hence the slogan Darkies Design- RECLAIMING THE NAME!  I’ve often asked myself, why the word Darkie or Darkies still should be seen as negative or derogatory in contemporary Indigenous society, especially when we as a people were not responsible for the derogatory or negative use of the word.  I am very proud of the colour of my skin and so are all of the Indigenous people I know, no matter how light or dark they are.  I hope that Darkies will no longer be seen as a negative word by our mob but a positive word both now and in the future. 

As the owner of Darkies Design I await the arrival of NAIDOC Week with much
excitement and anticipation.  I set Darkies Design up in 2010 to give us as Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people the ability to express how proud we are of being
Indigenous Australians by being able to wear clothing that celebrate our Culture/s
and give us a sense of pride with respect to who we are as Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people living in contemporary Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander society.  What a better week than NAIDOC week to reinforce the messages
that I am trying to share such as through the: "100% Pure Australian" range of
hoodies and tee-shirts.  This powerful message seeks to break down barriers, stamp
out discrimination and eliminate racism through its unspoken meaning that no matter whether a person is light skinned or dark skinned if they identify as an Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander person then this should be embraced.

NAIDOC week is always a sensational time of year as our mob get to celebrate our
culture in our way and show the rest of Australia what a strong and proud culture we
have.  When I'm out and about out events such as the ACT NAIDOC ball and AHL NAIDOC week luncheon, I love being a part of everyone coming together in harmony and love to put differences aside and unite as one to celebrate that as one of the oldest living group of peoples on earth we are still here and our culture/s remain strong!

Whilst NAIDOC week will be a very busy week for me as I am holding a stall at a couple of events, I really love yarning with people I know but also meeting new people. If you are in Parramatta on Sunday 14th July 2013 from 10:00am onwards come along to my stall at the Burramatta Family Fun Day:
Darkies Design stalls would love you to visit over the next week or so but if you are
unable to please visit the Darkies Design website: and If you have questions about Darkies Design or just want to have a yarn then please email me: or find me on Twitter: @DarkiesDesign

Looking forward to seeing you mob this proud and celebrate!!!

1 comment:

  1. As a white Australian, can I say Darkies too? Or will I get knocked into next week? ;)

    Good luck with the brand, there's a big market out there.