The first annual Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) presents the most distinct and progressive Indigenous artists working in fashion, textiles and craft May 31 – June 3, 2018 at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Featuring four exciting runway showcases and a curated exhibition, IFWTO also offers panels and lectures, as well as hands-on workshops and a marketplace.
Founded by innovative Dene artist/designer Sage Paul, Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto is committed to the advancement and empowerment of Indigenous artists and designers. The marketplace includes works by 75% Indigenous women artists among 40 vendors offering fashion, food, cosmetics, lifestyle, craft, textiles and more from Canada, the US and Greenland, with a spotlight on the far north.
In multi-day, hands-on workshops, participants will learn about Indigo Dyeing (Tuscarora Nation), Black Walnut Dyeing (Tuscarora Nation), Navajo Rug Weaving, and Beading for Beginners (Dene Nation).
The IFWTO panelists and lecturers include Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, designers, and industry academics and leaders sharing knowledge about Indigenous Dyes & Fibres, Storytelling & Symbolism in Textiles & Design, Cultural (In)Appropriation, Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Indigenous Fashion Futurisms.
“Indigenous fashion can redefine mainstream fashion and art: our fashion illustrates our stories, traditions, sovereignty and resiliency,” says Sage Paul, Artistic Director. “IFWTO is about carving out space for Indigenous fashion, craft and textiles and we are thrilled to be presenting Indigenous artists and their works from across Canada, the USA and Greenland this Spring.”
Four live runway shows inspired by traditional seasons of the moon showcase stylish men’s and women’s wear, street wear, avant-garde, traditional regalia, jewelery and craft from 23 Indigenous artists and designers.
The line-up of artists and designers at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto include: evening-wear designer Lesley Hampton; beader and accessory designer Helen Oro; haute couture fashion designer Sho Sho Esquiro, known for her mix of fabric, furs, skins, shells and beadwork; and Dorothy Grant, who combines Haida art with classic clothing design.
The New Moon show (Thursday, May 31) recognizes Spring and birth in new work and emerging artists: Lesley Hampton, Evan Ducharme, Warren Steven Scott, Janelle Wawia, Sugiit Lukx Designs (Yolanda Skelton), and Meghann O’Brien.
The Berry Moon (Friday, June 1) celebrates summer and powwow season with traditionally inspired work and regalia of the future: Catherine Blackburn, Mi’kmaq Design (Ingrid Brooks), Helen Oro Designs, Niio Perkins Designs, Timeless Shadows Apparel (Tracey Heese), and Injunuity (Cheryl & Carissa Copenace).
On Saturday, June 2, the theme is Harvest Moon, a time of year to gather and prepare for the winter months. The runway presents an intergenerational honouring of matriarchs, with designs that recognize the vitality of stories and teachings passed through generations, featuring works from Dorothy Grant, Delina White, Artifaax (Denise Brillon), and The Chinimiwin Collective.
With Frost Moon enters the winter months on Sunday, June 3 in a showcase of Inuk street style from Nunavut and Greenland and high Dene fashion featuring seal fur, vibrant colour and bone from Nuuk Couture, Sho Sho Esquiro, Hinaani Design, Victoria Kakuktinniq, Tania Larsson, and Crystal Worl.
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto celebrates the beauty and vitality of contemporary Indigenous expression and its connection to Indigenous knowledge and ways of life. Led by Indigenous women, IFWTO is offering audiences an authentic, accessible opportunity to connect with Indigenous artists and celebrate cultural expression. “Our community is bursting at the seams with new works in fashion, craft and textiles, and we are proud to be recognizing their artistry at the first Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto,” says Sage Paul, Artistic Director. “This year’s program of artists and designers represent the diversity of design, expression, and tradition from nations across North America and Greenland.”
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto launches May 31 – June 3, 2018 at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West). Ticket Sales and Workshop Registration open April 1, 2018. Visit [www.ifwtoronto.com]
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