WA-raised Creative Director Ken Leung previously worked with global fashion icons such as Uniqlo and DKNY, and led the #WeWearAustralian shoot on location around Broome and Kununurra in the Kimberley - one of the world's last true wilderness areas.

#WeWearAustralian is an initiative by Showroom-X, a collective of Australian fashion brands. The creative concept was “freedom”, with an emphasis on light – enter the Kimberley’s otherworldly landscapes and sharp rock formations, sitting adjacent to vibrant blue skies, red pindan sands and azure waters.

We Wear Australian - Colours of Kimberley on show

India Anderson, Naomi Stevens, Will Kalimba, Cindy Rostron and Angus Minear, James Giles
Lake Argyle on Miriwoong Country, photgraphy by James Giles

Here’s what Ken had to say about his time in WA, having recently returned home from living abroad in New York, and his experience working on the project in the Kimberley.

1) You grew up in Western Australia, and have recently returned to Perth after living and working overseas for a number of years. What brought you back to your home town – and what excites you about being back in Perth?

I’ve discovered a vibrant new energy since moving back to Perth. There are so many opportunities in fashion, art, food and culture that has the creative communities buzzing.

2) Furthermore, what does being West Australian mean to you?

Being West Australian is a luxury. I have the time and space to be creative and I’m more creative here than anywhere else in the world.

Model William Kailmba of Crab Creek

Model William Kailmba, Crab Creek of Jukun on Yawuru Country
Photography by Claire Hart

3) The Kimberley, it’s one of the world’s last true wilderness areas – a remarkably special place. Tell us what otherworldly experiences or places caught your eye the most while on shoot in:

I was excited about how colourful and culturally rich Broome is. I loved the pink sands melting into turquoise blue waters at Crab Creek, the vivid sunsets at Cable Beach and glowing red rocks at Reddell Beach.

I was overwhelmed by the scale and history of Kununurra. 1,500 year old boab trees and the vast scale of Lake Argyle puts everything in perspective.

We Wear Australian models

Will Kalimba, India Anderson, Naomi Stevens, Angus Minear and Cindy Rostron at Gantheaume Point on Yawuru Country
Photography by James Giles

4) You’ve worked for some of the world’s biggest fashion labels in some of its most iconic cities, where people and place undoubtedly influence the product that goes to market. How do you think the people and places (landscapes, communities, coastlines) of Western Australia impact on the fashion and creative industries in a positive way?

We have an abundance of breathtaking landscapes and unique flora and fauna to inspire us.

5) The #WeWearAustralian campaign creative idea is all about “freedom”, so what is it about the Kimberley region that made it an ideal shoot location to deliver on this project?

My location brief was to find the most striking, unique and other-worldly places that would leap off your screen and inspire travellers to visit our state.

We Wear Australian model showcasing a colourful landform

Model Cindy Rostron, Beach of Jabarragun on Yawuru Country
Photography by Claire Hart

6) Five days, two amazing locations, 10 camels and more than 180 brands – it was a big shoot, but what surprised you most about Broome and Kununurra, and how unique the attractions and landscapes are?

I’ve worked in some amazing locations all over the world — Bhutan, Ethiopia, Marrakech and I truly feel our landscapes are world-class and undiscovered. I’m grateful for the opportunity to capture their magic and share them with the world.

7) Supporting local has been a real theme of the last 18 months across both the fashion and travel sectors. What other new adventures have you had in your WA backyard?

A glamping trip in Denmark. Wine tasting in Margaret River. Motor homing to Coral Bay and Exmouth to swim with the whale sharks. A cosy, wintery week on Rottnest and a magical springtime road trip to Monkey Mia.

8) Now that you’ve had a taste of the Kimberley – what adventures are on the list for when you come back?

Cathedral Gorge and Echidna Chasm in the Bungle Bungle Range, Staircase to the Moon at Mangrove Hotel, Buccaneer Archipelago, Goombaragin Eco Retreat and El Questro.

Published December 2021