Look­ing Damn Fine

In­di­vid­u­al­ity, be­long­ing, pride, re­sis­tance —for six young In­dige­nous artists and de­sign­ers, fash­ion is a state­ment

Canadian Art - - Contents - By Erika A. Iseroff

In­di­vid­u­al­ity, be­long­ing, pride, re­sis­tance—for six young In­dige­nous artists and de­sign­ers, fash­ion is a state­ment by Erika A. Iser­hoff

Ur­ban fash­ion ex­pres­sion for In­dige­nous peo­ples is a way for us to talk to each other with­out speak­ing—a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of who we are, but also of where we are from. In­dige­nous peo­ples show pride and demon­strate ancestry in the face of com­plex his­tor­i­cal trau­mas through cloth­ing, adorn­ments, tat­toos and pierc­ings. We are still here and we are re­claim­ing our iden­ti­ties—all the while look­ing damn fine.

In­dige­nous peo­ples live in close re­la­tion­ship to the land, and main­tain strong kin­ship ties that bind so­phis­ti­cated so­cial, po­lit­i­cal, spir­i­tual, ma­te­rial and cul­tural sys­tems. With our fash­ion trends, tex­tiles, weav­ings, furs and other ma­te­rial and cul­tural tra­di­tions, In­dige­nous peo­ples have played im­por­tant roles in the de­vel­op­ment of the mod­ern world, which have in large part gone un­rec­og­nized.

Sage Paul—dene artist, de­signer and co–artis­tic di­rec­tor/co-founder of the Set­suné In­dige­nous Fash­ion In­cu­ba­tor—ar­gues that In­dige­nous peo­ples have cre­ated an ur­ban anti-fash­ion. In­dige­nous street style is a trans­gres­sive act of non-era­sure, non­con­for­mity and punk rock, which demon­strates kin­ship to the land, to our tra­di­tions and to each other. In­dige­nous street wear is a de­fi­ant act of re­sis­tance, a fuck you to as­sim­i­la­tion and a state­ment of both in­di­vid­u­al­ity and be­long­ing. Fea­tured here are six In­dige­nous mixed-raced artists. Each shares their unique state­ments of fash­ion sovereignty and ex­pres­sion of their In­dige­nous iden­ti­ties through dress.

pho­tog­ra­phy by Stacy Lee and John Paillé

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