Nunavut-based Hinaani Design creates clothing and accessories inspired by Inuit culture and love for the north. Since launching two years ago through the e-commerce platform Shopify, the core of the brand has been to make a positive impact — whether through their designs or sourcing. The founding team of three, Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt, Nooks Lindell and Emma Kreuger, strive to incorporate Inuit culture, lifestyle and language into their clothing, such as leggings and skirts featuring designs inspired by kakinniit, traditional Inuit tattoos, and Inuktitut syllabics.
In addition to primarily sourcing from Canadian and sustainable manufacturers, they’ve also made a commitment to giving back to the community by selling an item each year in which the profits are donated. Their last campaign donated to the Embrace Life Council, a non-profit suicide prevention organization based in Iqaluit.
We spoke to Rumbolt about learning to make her own clothes and finding inspiration in Inuit culture.
Chelsey St. John in Havik Leggings Image by: Hinaani Design
On launching Hinaani Design
“Most Inuit make their own clothes because you need warmer clothes to survive up north, warmer than what’s available in the stores. So we’ve learned from a young age to make our own clothes and we decided that we should. We learned how to use Photoshop, how to put the designs onto the computer and testing to see how well the designs will print.”
On incorporating inspirations from Inuit culture
“We noticed that a lot of young girls were wearing leggings with very colourful prints on them and lines that look so much like traditional Inuit tattoos. Just recently people have been realizing how beautiful and empowering they are so we decided that we would try to create some tattoo designs for our clothing. We got a lot of good feedback and I love walking around in different towns in Nunavut and seeing our designs. We always try to look at our traditional designs and contemporize them so that people can wear their culture every day.”
On the importance of sustainability
“As part of making a positive impact, not just within our communities but also the world, we decided that we wanted to be ethical and try our best to stay within Canada. It’s also part of Inuit values to be sustainable and environmentally-friendly, to be resourceful in what you have around you or close to you.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.