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IFWTO + Edito par Simons Collection

28 May 2020

Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) has teamed up with Simons to create this collection with 8 Indigenous artists from communities across Canada. These garments made of organic cotton and linen are one-of-a-kind pieces that showcase the artisanal skill of these creators through their prints, embroidery, appliqué, and beadwork. Come take part in a unique encounter with these exceptional talents.

Evan Ducharme (Metis) explores identity and cultural iconography with a particular focus on creating images of contemporary Indigeneity, reclaiming Indigenous sexualities, and committing to environmentally conscious practices.
 

Forming Injunuity Design Studio, mother-daughter duo Cheryl and Carissa Copenace (Anishnaabe) design regalia and daywear using modern appliqué and traditional beadwork patterns that reflect the strength and resilience of Anishinaabe culture.

Available soon, stay tuned!
 

Tania Larsson (Gwich’in) designs contemporary northern Indigenous adornment based on Gwich’in culture that is created with land-based materials like leather, fur, and bone. Tania’s understanding of history and culture is applied throughout her artistic work.

Available soon, stay tuned!
 

Warren Steven Scott (Nlaka’pamux) bridges the Western concept of luxury fashion with his ancestral worldview on ethics, craft, and aesthetic sensibility. Scott’s approach to design pictures a modern image of fashion through an Indigenous lens.

Niio Perkins (Haudenosaunee) honours the traditions and skill passed down through generations of the Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse), sustaining a legacy of cultural expression through design.
 

Tracy Toulouse (Ojibway) features Woodland storytelling motifs in her contemporary designs using appliqué, beads, quills, antlers, bone, fur, and ribbon work. Tracy’s designs reinforce the Indigenous spirit and its connection to the land.
 

Jordan Bennett (Mi’kmaq) incorporates a broad range of materials into his works that are mainly inspired by his interactions with Mi’kmaq porcupine quill designs, baskets, beadwork, clothing, and petroglyphs.
 

Caroline Monnet (Anishnaabe-French) communicates Indigenous identity and bicultural living through the examination of cultural histories. Her work underscores the endurance of her culture’s visual language, tracing her roots to her own contemporaneity as a way to describe a dynamic and ever-evolving history.
 

IFWTO presents Indigenous-made fashion, textiles and craft. IFWTO is committed to exploring the deep connections between mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and traditional practice through presentation for broad audiences and industries. With amplified visibility of and led by Indigenous women, IFWTO is bold, inclusive and accessible. We challenge perceptions of and celebrate Indigenous people and our culture with integrity, innovation and excellence.

This collaboration marks a milestone for the fashion industry, one that exemplifies collaboration with Indigenous designers. What initiated this project was the shared values between IFWTO and Simons. By joining forces, we saw an opportunity to implement Indigenous leadership in how we, Indigenous people, are represented in the fashion industry, to support and value Indigenous expression and craftsmanship, and to promote local, sustainable fashion practices.

What has come to be known as “Indigenous fashion” is actually a diverse multiplicity of nations, culture, creativity, and generational knowledge. To have the work of a group of Indigenous designers from across the country of all ages and disciplines celebrated on a mainstream platform like Simons is truly a gift for all. Red ochre dye from Canada’s arctic, Anishinaabe floral designs interpreted in three different ways, contemporary interpretations of formline art and Metis weaving, delicate Haudenosaunee beadwork, and Mi’kmaq quillwork reimagined into digital graphics—each designer brings a unique perspective that embodies the vibrant breadth of knowledge and craft passed on to them. The designers of this project include Caroline Monnet (Anishnaabe-French, Montreal, Que.), Evan Ducharme (Metis, Vancouver, B.C.), Cheryl and Carissa Copenace (Anishinaabe, Rainy River First Nations, Ont.), Jordan Bennett (Mi'kmaq, Terence Bay, N.S.), Niio Perkins (Haudenosaunee, Akwesasne, Que.), Tania Larsson (Gwich’in, Yellowknife, N.W.T.), Tracy Toulouse (Anishinaabe, Sudbury, Ont.), and Warren Steven Scott (Nlaka'pamux, Toronto, Ont.).

I am filled with joy with how this project celebrates community collaboration and brought so many together. Thank you to each of the designers for being a vital part of our community and for being the key part of this journey. Thank you to all Indigenous creators for sustaining our culture through fashion and the arts. And thank you to the Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto team—Kerry Swanson and Heather Haynes—and Oceane Stanislas and the entire Simons team for your commitment to presenting and supporting Indigenous artists and designers.

Nezo, Mahsi cho,

Sage Paul
Artistic Director

Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto

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