We fi­nally have a fash­ion week worth go­ing to

Vancouver Magazine - - Cover Story -

Joleen Mit­ton shies away when­ever she’s pulled into the spotlight to in­tro­duce her­self as Van­cou­ver In­dige­nous Fash­ion Week’s founder, so you’d never guess she led an in­ter­na­tional mod­el­ling ca­reer as a teenager. But she left the fash­ion in­dus­try nearly a decade ago, only to re­turn full force this year to lead the most an­tic­i­pated fash­ion show of 2017. Dur­ing the four-day event in July, Toron­to­based Lil’wat de­signer Cur­tis Oland sent tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing horse­hair and lamb­skin leather, strut­ting down the run­way, and Van­cou­ver de­signer Dahlia Drive turned heads with her col­lec­tion of ex­quis­ite scarves and ki­monos fea­tur­ing silkscreened prints of mas­ter carver Reg David­son’s Haida pat­terns.— C.B.

Q: WHY DID YOU LEAVE THE FASH­ION IN­DUS­TRY TO WORK WITH YOUTH IN YOUR COM­MU­NITY?

Joleen Mit­ton: “I needed a rea­son. Hon­estly, I have had a life that peo­ple would think that they would want, which doesn’t re­ally make you happy. I’ve had some peo­ple be re­ally en­vi­ous and, at the end of the day, you need to know who you are and need to have a rea­son to be here. It’s more spir­i­tual and re­flec­tive than try­ing to leave a legacy. I didn’t set [In­dige­nous Fash­ion Week] up to do that. It just kind of hap­pened.”

TYLER JA­COBS LOR­RAINE GUS PAM BAKER TYLER JA­COBS PAM BAKER

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