Many years in the making

Mainie represents a special melding of two ancient cultures, where the Dreamtime meets the Silk Road…

Authentic Aboriginal designs by traditional artists from Central Australia’s remote Tanami Desert region and the artisan silk-makers from the fabled Silk Cities of China come together to create luxurious, wearable art with a uniquely Australian design that will appeal to those who value the finer things in life.  

The original artworks featured in Mainie’s designs are based on ancient, ancestral stories and sacred ceremonial customs which have been passed down through many generations of Warlpiri women over thousands of years. The rich and vibrant hues used by the artists perfectly reflect the awe-inspiring beauty of their desert homelands in the Australian Outback.  

Perfect for stylish travellers seeking the most versatile and lightweight of fashion accessories, Mainie’s collection of silk scarves, tops, capes and wraps are generously sized to be styled in an almost infinite number of ways. From dreamy boho luxe to the stylish corporate world, and breezy resort wear to evening glamour, there is a Mainie for every occasion.

Each beautifully handcrafted piece tells a story, and will become a treasured possession for its owner. All of Mainie’s exquisite silk pieces are beautifully boxed with artwork authentication, artist biographies as well as each artwork’s Dreamtime Story in English, Chinese and Japanese.

Shop The Collection

Story of Silk

The mythical Yellow Emperor Huang Ti ruled China in 3000BC, but it was his wife, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, who was the first person to discover silk and thus named Goddess of Silk, according to Chinese legend.

The story begins with the Empress taking her tea under mulberry tree, when a cocoon fell into her cup. From there she discovered the threads of the silkworm, glistening in the morning light. Empress Hsi Ling Shi is credited with cultivating the silkworms and inventing the loom after becoming infatuated with her discovery on that morning under the mulberry tree.

Regarded as an extremely high value luxury product, silk was reserved for the exclusive usage of the Chinese imperial court for the making of cloths, drapes, banners and other items of prestige.

For 3000 years the Chinese kept the secret of silk to themselves, a valuable commodity whose demand resulted in the development of the Silk Road trade route along the Great Wall of China to the Mediterranean Sea. Smugglers attempting to steal silkworms or those who shared production techniques to foreigners were executed to keep the secret of silk just that, secret.

The Silk Roads have connected civilizations and brought peoples and cultures into contact with each other from across the worlds for thousands of years, permitting not only an exchange of goods but an interaction of ideas and cultures that has shaped our world today.

Multiple countries have attempted silk production, some successfully but many have failed or produced inferior quality silk to that of the artisan silk makers of China. And over the past 40 years China has experienced a resurge in its production, becoming the worlds largest producer of silk once again.

Meet The Team

From their Cairns base, Charmaine Saunders and Denis Keeffe make a dynamic team whose vision and passion for their Australian heritage, combined with a great appreciation for Indigenous art, has culminated in the launch of Mainie

Charmaine Saunders

Managing Director

Charmaine is a descendant of the Gunggari people from southwestern Queensland. Her love of Aboriginal fine arts has grown over years of working in remote Aboriginal communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Charmaine left her executive level role in the Australian public service in 2013 to focus on the couple’s vision of creating an iconic Australian fashion label showcasing genuine Aboriginal artworks.

Denis Keeffe

Executive Director

Denis’ business background has spanned a successful career in management for major multinational companies, as well as CEO roles for national sporting teams including the
Townsville Crocodile NBL franchise, the News Limited appointed CEO of the Toyota North Queensland Cowboys, and most recently the chief executive of the Central Queensland NRL Bid.