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Nathan McGuire is opening doors for Mob in Fashion

May 01, 2024

Nathan with other designers at Emerging MOB in Fashion, Melbourne Fashion Festival, 2024. Photo: Dan Castano

Australia’s most sought after male model, Nathan McGuire, never intended to move fulltime into fashion after wrapping up a professional hockey career and moving to Melbourne.

“I was asked to do a photo shoot with a friend of mine when I first came to Melbourne from Perth. They sent those images into an agency. It was just a bit of fun, but it ended up becoming my full-time job and career.”

That was almost ten years ago, and McGuire has now scaled the heights of modelling, working for Bottega Venetta, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Armani and RM Williams, and being voted GQ’s Model of the Year in 2022.

We spoke to the Whadjuk Noongar man at his studio, where he talked about how he’s using the networks and knowledge he’s gained to launch his own creative couture label and help open doors for more First Nations representation in fashion.

“Throughout my career I was usually the only Aboriginal person in the room, and as more First Nations people come into the industry, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to filter all those creatives into one festival and support the industry and support their careers?”

“I saw the gap in representation behind the scenes of the industry, and it just seemed like a really great fit for Melbourne Fashion Festival and something I want to achieve.”

Nathan backstage with models at Emerging MOB in Fashion, Melbourne Fashion Festival, 2024. Photo: Dan Castano

McGuire was approached by the Festival in 2022 to be their cultural and safety consultant, and used that platform to launch Mob in Fashion, “a pathway programme for meaningful career opportunities for First Nation creatives in roles behind the scenes: photographers, videographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists, social media and journalism.

“For the creatives we work with, it’s really small, one-on-one mentoring and training with our team. We take creatives through the whole process from concept to execution of a fashion show or photo shoot, and how to work with our clients. Having First Nations people building up skills in those areas will increase the representation that the industry has been seeking.”



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Mob in Fashion has mentored young First Nations creatives through three Melbourne Fashion Festivals, kickstarting the careers of emerging creatives like Grace Evans-Craig.

“[Grace] was a model in one of our shows that we were styling, and she decided she was interested more in behind the scenes, so we took her under our wing for our next show and she became an assistant to our head stylist, Rhys Ripper, and she has since been with us for the last three years working on our shows.

“She did an internship we created with JONES magazine, and went from there to work with publications such as Vogue and InStyle, then came back to work for Mob in Fashion as an executive assistant.

“Another success story is Renee Henderson, a graduate fashion student who showcased her first collection in our Emerging Mob in Fashion show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival. She’s also worked with us as an assistant stylist behind the scenes, everything from taping shoes to dressing models to packing clothes to sending things down the runway. We help her manage how she operates as both a stylist and as a designer for her own shows.

“With Mob in Fashion, it’s about a circular industry that we create within our own unit, providing an opportunity to continue to grow and develop skills.”

The 34-year-old also launched his own label, Solid Ochre, in 2022. “I’ve always been a creative,” he says, “ever since I was a young child, art was my favourite subject at school. Solid Ochre helps me flex my creative muscle, explore my personal style and create looks that are significant to me; explore the storytelling and cultural elements I can bring to the Australian fashion industry.”

With investment from Creative Australia’s Flourish III First Nations Textile Design & Fashion Innovation Fund, McGuire is developing his label and launching his first capsule collection, a collaboration with Denimsmith.

Nathan backstage fixing a model’s garment at Emerging MOB in Fashion, Melbourne Fashion Festival, 2024. Photo: Dan Castano

“I chose Denimsmith because they were one of the first brands I ever worked with when I first started modelling; I’ve had an ongoing relationship with them so it felt like a natural extension in becoming a designer. They’re guiding me through the process from concept to delivery and then straight to market.

“The denim is inspired by colour theory storytelling, that’s part of my brand Solid Ochre. It talks to colours and what they represent – we’ve explored that through denim and what that looks like.”

McGuire name-checks Delven Cockatoo-Collins, House of Darwin, GALI, and Lychee Alkira as First Nations designers doing exciting things for fashion.

“When I see all the different designers in this Indigenous fashion space, I see a lot of different ways mob are telling their story or sharing their culture, with so much potential for new collections and concepts… What keeps me going is my desire to keep building a safe space for mob to interact with the fashion industry. My vision is to keep growing as a company, as a creative agency and keep being a cultural and fashion touchpoint for the industry, to collaborate and build the sector of Indigenous fashion.”

With all he’s achieved in the past ten years, the *fit check for both McGuire and Mob in Fashion’s future looks impeccable.

Follow: @nathan.mcguire | @mobinfashion | @solidochre

*fit check
[fit chek]
A fit check is a request for others to check out the requester’s outfit. Specifically, fit check is often used to refer to a photo or video in which a person is showing off a fashionable outfit. Find out more.