In recognition of National Reconciliation Week, Global Victoria shines the spotlight on international fashion entrepreneur and proud Wradjuri woman, Denni Francisco.

Showreel of Ngali fashionwear

Images courtesy of Business Victoria

Promoting understanding between First Nations' Communities and Others

A fashion entrepreneur and proud Wradjuri woman with over 25 years’ experience in the industry, Denni has created two unique clothing business models that have made an impact not only to the industry, but to society at large.Denni Francisco

After having worked in design and directorship roles for notable fashion houses in Australia and the USA, Denni created her first venture: Billiecart Clothing. In what would quickly turn into an icon of 90s children’s fashion, Billiecart enjoyed exponential growth. Billiecart worked with - and empowered - over 950 women across Australia (mostly return-to-work mums) who, to this day, testify that the business was instrumental in helping them transition back to work and, for some, start businesses of their own.

Billiecart also pioneered an innovative supply chain model; where all the fabrics and garments were designed and manufactured right here in Australia, keeping jobs here and reducing waste.

Denni's current endeavour, Ngali, aims to bring the artwork of talented Indigenous Australians to the world through premium-quality clothing and collectibles.

She works with remote artists to expand their reach and help promote understanding between First Nations’ communities and others.

“Art is a lens through which our people see, understand and communicate with others.  At Ngali we want more people around the globe to know who we are, who we’ve always been...that there’s more to us than what you see through the lens of 200 years of colonisation.

And fashion is a good way to do this. It means we can expand the reach of our stories. It means too that remote artists can access opportunities they may not otherwise have.”  Denni Francisco, Founder Ngali and Billiecart Clothing

Through the medium of clothing fashion, Ngali gives more people access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander culture by taking the stories of incredible artwork beyond wall display and onto garments to walk the streets and show up in a myriad of places around the world.

As a First Nation Australian, Denni strives to live and work, guided by Blak Ethics – a way of being founded in cultural principles, that as a First Nations’ business, Ngali holds itself accountable. As a First Nation Australian, Denni strives to live and work, guided by Blak Ethics – a way of being founded in cultural principles, that as a First Nations’ business, Ngali holds itself accountable.

Global Victoria was honoured to have Denni appear as a guest panelist for our 2020 virtual seminar, The Female Business Leader in 2020.

The seminar was delivered under our Global Victoria Women (GVw) initiative aimed at empowering women in business to connect, grow and establish global networks.

Denni joined with other female leaders to speak about the the challenges their businesses have faced during the pandemic and how owning who they are has helped them meet the challenges of 2020.

Throw your support behind Aboriginal-owned businesses

This year’s Reconciliation Week theme is More than a word: Reconciliation takes action, a reminder that true reconciliation won’t be achieved without conscious effort and meaningful steps. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses – and supporting them loudly – is one small step we can take today.

Explore 11 other Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses that you can buy from this Reconciliation week and every week.