Denara is the founder of SEDA COLLECTIVE, an ethical fashion company.
Although initially studying Linguistics at The University of Melbourne with the intention of becoming a translator, Denara found that the courses didn’t resonate with her and decided to take some time off. During her gap year in 2017, a solo trip to South America (Colombia and Ecuador) for over seven months sparked the founding of SEDA Collective. SEDA works directly with Indigenous Colombian artisans, aiming to take their collaborations worldwide.
As founder of a young organisation, Denara’s roles include everything from designing collections, completing administrative work, managing social media, being a photographer, collaborating directly with artisans for each design, and packaging orders.
In September 2020, SEDA had their largest collaboration with the Australian designer, Lisa Gorman, for her fashion brand Gorman. This collaboration was able to expand SEDA’s team of artisans to over 30 Indigenous communities. Although it was a year full of worldly crises and strict lockdowns, the collaboration went on as scheduled, and was a source of income for over 30 families during the pandemic. The labour of love by the artisans is now available in over 50 Gorman stores in Australia and New Zealand.
Denara’s journey to founding SEDA was to just giving it a go, instead of constantly thinking about the “what ifs” of starting a business. She was also working around two other jobs while she worked on SEDA on the side. For the youth looking to start a business like Denara, she advises to "feed the vision not the fear". Whenever she doubts herself, she thinks about where she would be and what she would be doing if she was still in East Turkestan, and that we are all lucky to be in these amazing countries full of opportunities, so give everything a go.
Apart from SEDA, one of her biggest accomplishments was surviving her migration process to Australia at the age of 12. She feels that she has come out of the experience stronger and uses her family’s struggles to help inspire others.
Her main goal is to share more of her stories to inspire young migrants in finding their strength and power, and showing them that they do not have to be a victim of their past. She also hopes to help migrants who are holding back from chasing their dreams due to their English. Along with this, she is planning to use her personal and business platform to bring more awareness to East Turkestan through wearable art and textiles.
Support Denara and Indigenous artisans by purchasing ethically made products from SEDA.
Keep up the amazing work, Denara!