8 Indigenous Fashion Designers to Know
Last month, the first Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto showcased and celebrated the work of Indigenous creators working across fashion, textiles and crafts. Here are eight designers you should make note of.
1/8© Catherine BlackburnCatherine Blackburn is of Dene and European ancestry, and a member of the English River First Nation from Saskatchewan. She works with bead and jewellery, and explores contemporary concepts with aspects of Dene culture.
Victoria Kakuktinniq© Victoria KakuktinniqVictoria Kakuktinniq is Nunavummiut, born and raised in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Her label, Victoria’s Arctic Fashion, merges traditional northern garments like parkas and sealskin mittens with a contemporary flair. Her interest in fashion began by watching the seamstress in her community sew parkas.
Evan Ducharme© Evan DucharmeEvan Ducharme's work draws inspiration from his Metis culture and the surrounding environment of his territory. His pieces have a minimal, classic look yet feel modern. His designs focus on creating images of contemporary Indigenous identities, reclaiming Indigenous sexualities and using environmentally-conscious practices.
Janelle Wawia© Janelle Wawia
Janelle Wawia is an Anishinaabe artist from northwestern Ontario. A trapper on her family’s trap lines, her work incorporates furs and leathers that she’s processed herself.
Tania Larsson© Tania LarssonTania Larsson is a Gwich’in and Swedish designer who creates contemporary, northern Indigenous pieces based on Gwich’in culture. She uses materials such as muskox horn and caribou hide to create earrings and necklaces, most of which is harvested through subsistence hunting. Her jewelry studio is based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and she also works in silversmithing and metalwork.
Delina White© Delina WhiteDelina White is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe from northern Minnesota. Her work focuses on the materials, symbolism and design patterns of the art from nations of the Great Lakes.
Meghann O’Brien© Meghann O’Brien
Meghann O’Brien is a Haida and Kawkwaka’wakw weaver from Alert Bay, British Columbia. A former professional snowboarder who left the sport to weave full-time, she uses materials such as hand-spun mountain goat wool and cedar bark in an innovative approach to traditional basketry.
Lesley Hampton© Lesley HamptonLesley Hampton is a Toronto-based Canadian-First Nations designer. Her eponymous label specializes in eveningwear and athleisure statement pieces. This year she was nominated for the Simons Fashion Design Student Award at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards.