STAND AND DELIVER
Two upcoming fashion weeks seek to promote the best of Indigenous style
In a year sullied by “appropriation prizes,” fashion shows highlighting Indigenous designers are working on changing the conver- sation from cultural appropriation to cultural appreciation. The first Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week—which kicks off on July 26— was founded by former model Joleen Mitton, whose background is Plains Cree, French and Scottish. Through her work mentoring Indigenous girls, she noticed the positive impact fashion had on their relationship to their culture. During the four-day celebration, more than 40 designers’ looks will be modelled by people of First Nation, Métis and Inuit descent.
A province over, in Alberta, Mount Royal University and PARK, a group dedicated to promoting Western-Canadian fashion, are planning the second Otahpiaaki, an Indigenous beauty, fashion and design week, taking place this fall in Calgary. There will be three designer showcases inspired by truth, youth and reconciliation, as well as business education programs provided by Sewing Seeds International. The best part just might be Sewing Seeds providing sewing machines and materials to junior and high school students to introduce them to the joy of fashion. Investing in new designers and your wardrobe? We’re in.