What we do
Flying Fox Fabrics is a 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 hand printed in Australia. Our products 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 our full range can now be found in-store at Songlines in Stuart Park, only 1.6 km from the CBD.
How we do it
We source hand printed fabrics from Australian Indigenous art centres and take/send them to Cambodia. There they are distributed to our Fair Trade partners – including four established and highly regarded social enterprises that provide training, employment and support to disabled artisans and their families. With more than eight years experience of having products made in Cambodia we carefully match the fabrics and designs with the style/item to be made and then sit back and let our partners do their magic. When finished the orders are shipped back to Australia for distribution and sale. 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.
Why we do it
It is a way of value adding to the fabrics to make things that are useful, beautiful and affordable and at the same time do good in two countries.
In the last 10 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.
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 12 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 2 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.