Clothing the Gaps: uniting people through fashion and a cause

  • Indigenous Affairs

After almost five years, Clothing the Gaps has become one of the most recognisable Aboriginal fashion labels – yet it had modest beginnings.

  • 01.11.2023
  • Time to read 1 min read


After almost five years, Clothing the Gaps has become one of the most recognisable First Nations fashion labels – yet it had modest beginnings.

“How did we get here? There was never a plan,” CEO and co-founder Laura Thompson said.

“But we’re here, and it means we’re agile and we’re actually responding to the needs of community, and that’s at the core of Clothing the Gaps.”

Ms Thompson, a proud Gunditjmara woman, and her business partner Sarah Sheridan started the company back in 2019, producing clothing with slogans that provoke social change.

The business now funds and supports a sister charity, Clothing the Gaps Foundation, to help improve First Nations health outcomes.

“We unite people through fashion and a cause.”

“We’re all over what’s happening in the community, the issues Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are talking about,” Ms Thompson said.

“We create the merchandise to spark the conversations and that in turn creates the social change that hopefully improves the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”


A business with community impact

Clothing the Gaps has grown to employ about 40 people across its retail and distribution functions.

Ms Thompson said ‘mob’ was at the heart of the business; its workforce is almost entirely First Nations people.

“It’s not something we talk about a lot, [we don’t] scream it from the rooftops,” Ms Thompson said.

"It actually just makes sense in a business like ours to employ mob.”

Gunditjmara woman and Clothing The Gaps CEO and co-founder Laura Thompson

NAB Group CEO Ross McEwan with Clothing the Gaps CEO and co-founder Laura Thompson

“And they just love to come here because it is a safe Black workplace, and they get to work with their peers.”

NAB CEO Ross McEwan visited the flagship Clothing the Gaps store in Brunswick, Victoria as part of the ninth annual Indigenous Business Month.

“It’s great to see Clothing the Gaps’ success over the past few years,” Mr McEwan said.

“Laura and Sarah have really built up the business. Not only are they creating change in the community but they are also a significant First Nations employer.”

“NAB is a big supporter of First Nations business and we really value our relationship with Clothing the Gaps.”


“We’re passionate about empowering First Nations leaders like Laura, now and into the future, and helping communities prosper.” 

NAB CEO Ross McEwan

Backing First Nations business growth

NAB today announced it would more than double its lending to First Nations businesses and community organisations to at least $1 billion over the next three years.

“This is an ambitious new target that we hope will make a real difference to First Nations businesses and organisations,” said Mr McEwan.

“We’ve done significant work within the community to understand how we can boost the support we provide.”

“We hope this new initiative will help unlock more potential in the First Nations business sector.”

A range of NAB customers, both large and small, will benefit from the initiative – from land councils and native food businesses to farmers and fashion designers.

The $1 billion lending target will be supported by NAB’s growing Indigenous Specialist Banking Team.

The team of specialist bankers work on the frontline to provide relationship banking facilities to more than 1900 First Nations business and community organisation customers across Australia.

Among NAB’s initiatives for both colleagues and customers is a dedicated First Nations customer service line for people in remote Australian communities.

Fair and affordable microfinance loans are also available to First Nations customers, in partnership with Good Shepherd.

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