Column Dusk Devi
LYN-AL YOUNG was named to honour her grandmother Lynette and her great-grandmother Alice, serendipity giving them all the same birth date. No doubt Lynette and Alice feel more than honoured to have such a remarkable young woman carry on a legacy of brilliance.
Descended from a family of innovators and artists (her great-grandfather was a boomerang maker who passed on his skills to Young's uncles and brothers and her great-grandmother, a musician), Lyn-Al is a proud child of the Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta. Of Australia.
She has said that "..when we connect to our ancestors, we learn more about our culture, we become stronger in who we are and in our own identity"
Like all artisans, her designs convey a story, pass down history, and project personality. Her signature is flowing garments the colours of the elements that feel like whispers on the skin, each one a variation, individuals with the collective and many custom made to match the personality of the wearer.
This Melbourne based artist, CEO, and designer has showcased her collections at VAMFF, MBFWA, Australian Indigenous Fashion Week and Pacific Runway and has drawn the attention of industry insiders worldwide.
1. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?
When I was little I wanted to be 100m sprinter in the Olympics. But, yes art and fashion has always been a passion of mine, I come from a very long line of artist, artefact makers and entrepreneurs and grew up around art, my parents owned an art gallery back in Adelaide (where I was born) when I was a kid, my mum started painting professionally when I was 10 and we would help out at the Koorie night markets to sell her work, being involved helping and watching mum was so inspiring to me.
As I grew up the passion grew inside me, I started making and selling handmade hand bags age 12 and then selling my artwork age 14 at Koorie Night Markets around Melbourne and it’s just been a really natural journey into building my own business straight out of high school, and now I can’t really see myself doing anything else.
2. Time travel: when, where and why?
There are so many places and times I’d love to travel and relive or redo, but then again I know I wouldn’t be who I am if I changed things.. I guess I’d like to go to a point in history that changed the world for the better, just to experience it in real life.
3. What are you most grateful for?
Definitely my family, they are the best family in the world (of course I’m not bias) but seriously, they are the biggest blessing, their love and support for me and one another inspires me, and is the only reason why I am doing what I’m doing.
4. What are you best traits?
I'm creative and compassionate
5. What colour would you use to describe yourself?
Magenta, it’s bright, bold, deep, feminine, and majestic plus it is made up of my two of my favourite colours; purple and red… Purple to me means royalty and red is passion which I feel being an Indigenous person and sovereign to my country I am of royal blood and the red is how I want to live my life, doing things I am passionate about.
6. Do you read? If so, 3 favourites and why.
I love poetry and have a few poetry books. Also I’m fascinated how the brain works and loved reading ‘Switch on your brain’ by neuroscientist dr. caroline leaf. However my favourite and most read book of mine would have to be the Bible.
7. What’s the first place you go online? Your 3 best sites?
Hotmail, to read my emails (not sure it’s my favourite though lol). I love Instagram following people who inspire me and sharing with my followers my inspiration and creations, so please follow me on @lyn_al ! Youtube, finding new music and videos
8. How do you deal with stress?
I pray and meditate
9. What is the craziest thing you have ever done (so far)?
Well it might seem crazy to some but straight out of high school just turning 18, with no experience I set up my own fashion business.
10. What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?
I have two dream holidays 1. Travelling all over Europe and exploring boutiques, galleries, restaurants and museums. The other would be going to an island like Fiji or Bora Bora and snorkelling, water skiing, going to resort spas and relaxing on the beach and getting as tanned as I possibly can.
11. Would you rather fly the plane or be flown?
Depends on my mood, if I was on my Europe holiday I’d love to be flown first class, if I was on my island holiday I'd love to fly a plane and explore.
12. Do you have tattoos?
No, but I have always drawn tattoo ideas ever since I was little. For my first I’d get one of my paintings that means a lot to me, that I can show people and my children/grandchildren the story and significance behind it (so would obviously put it in an appropriate place to be able to show them).
13. What’s your biggest indulgence?
Probably going op shopping! I love it, it’s my favourite hobby, exploring and finding unique pieces that nobody will have. My wardrobe is made up of two things… my hand painted designs and op shop clothes!
14. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Can I say a 7 course meal? Haha! Definitely a roast lamb and vegies with cake and ice cream for dessert.
15. What is fashion to you?
A creative expression and celebration of my identity and culture
16. Do you have a signature outfit?
Either a wrap dress, big belt and heels or flared slacks, top and oversized vintage coat.
17. What do you believe in?
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains” which also means to me that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to, just believe and have faith!
18. What do you want to be remembered for?
I want my art/designs and more importantly my story to be remembered as helping to change attitudes in society around the image of the stereotypical view of an Aboriginal woman. Also challenging the sexualisation of young girls and women in media/fashion, by creating a ‘new norm’ of beautiful quality clothing that respects and protects the sacredness of a woman’s body, and empowers the women who wear my garments to have courage and share their story and be proud of their identity.
19. What’s the one thing that people misunderstand about you?
People are so quick to judge on appearances, there have been countless times when people question and misunderstand my identity based on their preconceived ideas and stereotypical views of what they think I should look and be like because I am Aboriginal.
I have learnt, rather than get frustrated (like I used to) about statements like “you don’t look Aboriginal” or “you’re pretty for an Aboriginal” (as if to say my culture isn’t beautiful!?) I can use it to my benefit and to educate the ignorant.
20. What do you wish someone would ask you?
Wow, you’re doing some great things and look lovely… you must be Aboriginal right? Because then I would know, they haven’t been affected by the system of stereotypical views and negative ideas from the media about my people, but that they know, see, and have experienced just how amazing my people and culture are.