Fashion (Canada) - - The Draw Sustainability Reboot - —Pahull Bains

No one was talk­ing about In­dige­nous de­sign­ers within the Toronto creative com­mu­nity. Sage Paul wanted to change that, so the ur­ban Dene woman launched In­dige­nous Fash­ion Week Toronto (IFWTO) ear­lier this year. As an artist and a de­signer her­self—she showed her lat­est col­lec­tion, Giv­ing Life, at Mon­treal’s Fes­ti­val Mode & De­sign and has plans to take it to Cal­gary’s Otah­pi­aaki Fash­ion Week in Novem­ber—Paul is hop­ing that IFWTO will im­prove the vis­i­bil­ity and ad­vance­ment of In­dige­nous artists while pro­vid­ing “a space for the fash­ion, cul­ture and arts in­dus­tries to gain knowl­edge about how to work with In­dige­nous de­sign­ers.” In ad­di­tion to IFWTO, Paul re­cently did the cos­tume de­sign for Falls Around Her, a film about an Anishi­naabe mu­si­cian that pre­miered at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (TIFF) this year. She is also work­ing on cre­at­ing a “value-driven en­trepreneur­ship course for In­dige­nous women and non-bi­nary peo­ple work­ing in fash­ion, crafts and tex­tiles.” The val­ues that she hopes to share and prop­a­gate are ones that form an in­te­gral part of how she was raised. “In­dige­nous peo­ple value and have a lot of re­spect for one an­other and the earth and all liv­ing things,” says Paul. “There’s a sense of grat­i­tude and a re­cip­ro­cal re­la­tion­ship with ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing the land, in­clud­ing an­i­mals.” It’s a value sys­tem she hopes will be adopted by an in­creas­ingly un­sus­tain­able in­dus­try be­fore it’s too late.

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