Organizers of the 2nd annual Toronto Indigenous Fashion Week are looking forward to highlighting a range of Indigenous fashion designs on March 13-16 at Artscape – Daniels Spectrum and York University. Photos submitted. THUNDER BAY—Organizers of the 2nd Annual Toronto Indigenous Fashion Week and upcoming Indigenous fashion shows in Ottawa, Montreal and Thunder Bay are looking to draw in Indigenous applicants from remote communities in northern Ontario.
“We want to continue to utilize this platform to create opportunities for Indigenous women and for Indigenous youth, preferably those who are not living in urban settings but living in the remote communities because that is where change really needs to happen,” says Charlene Lindsay, founder of the Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Thunder Bay Indigenous Fashion Weeks. “We want our Indigenous youth and women to know that they have a voice, that they should be proud of their Indigenous heritage, and that they can make money from their own artistic creations, whether it be through designing clothing, beading or any other artistic creation.”
Lindsay says the first Toronto Indigenous Fashion Week, held in 2017, featured the work of two Indigenous women from Peawanuck on the Hudson Bay coast. Lindsay worked with Sustainable Development and Revitalization (SDNR) for First Nations, which was founded at York University and the Schulich School of Business, and many students from both Ryerson University and York University to ensure the show was successful.
“[One of the women] actually was making her own clothing from hides,” Lindsay says. “She was going out into the woods and she was trapping her own animals. She was curing and dyeing the skins, and she made purses and mittens and moccasins and mukluks, you name it.”
Lindsay says the opportunity for the woman to make her own clothes and launch a clothing line and bring her clothing to Toronto was a life-changing experience.
“So we’re continuing to work with her to get her fashion elevated on an international level,” Lindsay says. “In addition to ensuring she gats a professional website built, we will connect her with the IP Clinic at Osgoode Hall Law School so she can file patents applications to make sure her work is protected.”
More than 27 Indigenous fashion designers, artists and models from around the globe are scheduled to participate in the 2nd Annual Toronto show, which will be held at Artscape – Daniels Spectrum and York University. “I am thrilled to be working with so many talented members of the Indigenous community for the 2nd Annual Toronto Indigenous Fashion Week,” Lindsay says. “Indigenous designers and artists need to be celebrated in Canada and our fashion week offers them a platform to showcase their work to an audience that might not be familiar with Indigenous fashion and culture.”
The 2nd Annual Toronto show will include an Indigenous marketplace, a Pow Wow, workshops featuring dress making, beading, drumming circles and Métis jigging as well as a runway show.
“A part of the Toronto Indigenous Fashion Week is really about educating people as well, and letting them know about our cultural history and the revitalization of our clothing industry,” Lindsay says. “We’ve been alive and well for thousands of years before anyone even came to this land. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that there are Indigenous women living in the far north parts of Ontario who are still living a traditional way of life through making use of the animals they trap to make clothing.”
The organizers are also partnering with York University and Osgoode Hall Law School to provide training to the Indigenous entrepreneurs.
The Toronto show is scheduled for March 13-16, the Ottawa show for July 1-4, […]
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