About Us

What we do

Flying Fox Fabrics is a small social enterprise that collaborates with fair trade partners to turn beautiful Indigenous designs & fabrics into high quality accessories, clothing and homewares. Our fabrics are all sourced in Australia. Most of our fabrics are either hand or digitally printed in Australia. Our bags, purses and cushions are made by disabled artisans in Cambodia working with Fair Trade social enterprises. Social and financial benefits flow to Australian artists and Cambodian artisans.

Until 2021 we sold exclusively on-line via Etsy, this website and occasional pop-ups. In April 2021 we moved to Darwin and most of our range can now be found in-store at Songlines in Stuart Park, only 1.6 km from the CBD.

Bags and purses made from hand printed from Palngun Wurnangat (Wadeye), Nagula Jarndu (Broome), Injalak Arts (Gunbalanya) and Merrepen Arts (Daly River)

How we do it

  1. Source the fabrics. Most of our fabrics are sourced from First Nations art centres in remote Australia. Art centres are member owned not-for-profit social enterprises. Some art centres hand screen print or lino print onsite (“on country”) whereas others outsource their printing. We buy direct from art centres at pop-ups, Art Fairs, online and on visits to communities. Some of our fabrics are digitally printed in Australia under license agreements with art centres and/or artists through Next State Print. We also source other fabrics printed under license – such as the Warlu range.
  2. Create an order. We source fabrics in small amounts – from 1-3 metres at a time. Decisions are made to carefully match the fabrics and designs with the style/item to be made. We have three key partners and each specialises in particular products/bag styles. Some fabric designs work really well in small bags or purses, others better in large bags. Some fabrics are very femme in colour, others are more neutral, some fabrics are more heavyweight than others.
  3. Distribute fabric to our partners. Our makers are based in Cambodia. We either send the fabric there or take it as luggage. Our partners are highly regarded social enterprises that provide training, employment and support to  disabled artisans and their families. 
  4. Patiently wait. With more than ten years experience of having products made in Cambodia, once the fabric has gone it’s time to sit back and let our partners do their magic. We work with small workshops and in fair trade – this is not mass manufacturing and deadlines/production schedules can be flexible.
  5. Open the boxes! The finished orders are shipped back to Australia for distribution and sale. This is always such a wonderful thing. Sometimes we get surprises. Sometimes a maker has decided to trial new products in our fabrics. One of our partners has a habit of stockpiling remants of our fabric. Her orders often contain a few products made from fabrics we haven’t seen (or had in production) for years. Keeps it interesting.
  6. Pay the makers. We pay the asking price from the art centres and our partners, no argy bargy.

In the two financial years 2021 and 2022 we sent $45,000 per annum to our partners in Cambodia to support production. This made a huge difference to them during COVID-19 when there was no income from retail sales to tourists. In 2022 they are all struggling to re-establish their retail outlets as many were closed down in 2020.

Bags and purses made from fabric hand printed by Palngun Wurnangat (Wadeye), Bula’bula Arts (Ramingining) and Injalak Arts (Gunbalanya). These items were all made by Kravan House.

Why we do it

There are lots of reasons. Love of fabrics is right up there at the top of the list.

So is the awareness that right livelihoods gives people dignity, purpose and makes a true difference to their lives. Making useful, affordable, high quality products from fabrics is a way of value adding.

Members of the team from Kravan House

In the last 10-15 years there has been amazing growth in design and production of fabrics coming out of remote community art centres around Australia. The fabric designs are vibrant, beautiful and meaningful and are a source of expression, pride, employment and livelihoods for artists and art centres. They deserve patronage, however, due to remoteness sourcing hand printed fabrics can be challenging – plus the number of people who only want to purchase fabric lengths is limited. Lots of people cherish something that’s already made. There’s a role for someone to play cupid in this situation – and it’s us! We bring together art centres, artists, designers and artisans with people who love ethical fabric products and want to support Indigenous people.

Flick in the print workshop at Injalak Arts with artist/printers Daniel and Reuben 2017

Who does it

Our founder (Felicity Wright) is Chief Hustler (aka project facilitator) – mediating between remote Australia and Cambodia. She has spent more than 30 years living in remote and regional Australia working for Indigenous artists and art centres (including more than 13 years ‘out bush’ in Gunbalanya, Yuendumu, Mimili and Ramingining). Her work has included managing art centres, business and marketing consulting, mentoring, exhibition curation and a major research project. In 2010 she flew out of Australia to live in Cambodia to be an Australian Volunteer International. Her placement was for two years but she stayed longer and continues to maintain  extensive networks and visit regularly. From 2013 – 2019 Felicity was Mentor Manager at Injalak Arts and a delightful part of her work was overseeing that fabric print workshop, promoting and marketing the fabrics and initiating the Cross-cultural Collaboration Project. She is a huge fan of the talent in each country – and also keenly aware of the need for right livelihoods.

With Florence Gutchen, fabric designer with her works in exhibition, at Cairns CIAF. They first met when Flick did a Business Planning consultancy for Erub Arts in 2009. 
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