Aside from just creating some incredibly funky socks and accessories, one of the main aims for BFF was to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We saw the unique culture, spirit and skills they possessed, but that these were often under-acknowledged.
A shining example of this was the artist of our second sock design and accessories collection; Maurice Woodley. Maurice sat down with us for a chat about what the BFF meant to him.
We wanted to make sure this project was beneficial not only to the indigenous community, but the individual artists. We asked Maurice how he thought his awareness as an artist would expand through BFF.
Maurice: I believe the “Exposure will be really good. For [myself] and a few artists that [I] know, we just share our art between ourselves. Marketing and branding aren’t a priority.”
With BFF, we provide new multiple channels (have you seen us on facebook and around QUT!) to showcase these artists and their work. In future, we’d love to further engage with artists to help them develop personal branding.
BFF realises this branding is key to raising awareness and enabling Australians to consider their history. If you asked the average Australian when they see the nations’ history beginning, they’ll respond with 1788. But, Indigenous Australians have the
“Longest living ongoing cultural and spirit belief in the world. That should be marketed, and branded and talked about and owned by all australians. It’s part of Australia now.”
We asked Maurice how important he thought the concept was in regards to awareness.
“Promoting awareness is really high up there.”
Traditional media sources tend to ignore the issues and problems facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, meaning people are both unaware and unable to form an opinion.
“Becoming aware of something allows someone to start that conversation; whereas sometimes it’s a taboo topic.” It’s all about “lowering the barriers that exist at the moment to just start that conversation.” Even if you’re unsure about Indigenous culture and what it means to them; there’s no way to learn without engaging.
Keep in mind, when you purchase a BFF product, you’re purchasing the story that comes with, and what it means to Indigenous people. By learning that, and being able to start that conversation, the key message is that:
“If all Australians can embrace that concept of we are now part of that [60,000 rather than 250 year] history, it can create a sense of pride in aboriginal history as well as Australian history.”
Maurice also emphasised the sense of “connectedness”, at the moment saying he saw and felt “disconnected.” We hope our efforts can help bridge the gap.
To find out more about Maurice, check out his website.