After a brief hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (VIFW) is back for its third year, showcasing the works of 32 Indigenous designers at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Honoring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the 2SLGBTQ+ Community, Guests Turned Out Monday Night for the Show OpenerRed dress eventwhich saw the first fashion shows of the event.
The work of several designers was featured in shows throughout the week with the final show scheduled for Thursday evening and the closing event scheduled for December 2.
VIFW brings together Indigenous fashion designers from across North America with a mission to “celebrate and make visible Indigenous arts, culture, community and wisdom” and to “facilitate Indigenous-allied relationships through collaboration, l education and representationaccording to its website.
The event, which began in 2017, was founded by Joleen Mitton, of Plains Cree, French and Scottish descent.
Mitton, who grew up in East Vancouver, says there has been a resurgence in Indigenous fashion after the first VIFW in 2017.
“I think it’s much more visible,” Mitton told CBC’s Stephen Quinn on The first edition before opening.
“Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week is the first ever Indigenous fashion week, it’s definitely not the first Indigenous fashion show,” she said. “A lot of people borrow our designs that aren’t indigenous.”
Himikalas Pam Baker, producer of VIFW and founder of clothing brand Touch of Culture/TOC Legends, says the previous years have seen “a lot of people just wanting to know what’s going on.”
“And now that we’re on our third show, there’s great excitement about this show, because we’ve invited designers from all over, we’re saying Turtle Island North America,” said Himikalas Pam Baker, who is Squamish, Kwakiutl, Tlingit and Haida. , said theThe first edition.
“There is an excitement to see and also to be educated about the differences and the creations of all the different designers.”
On the coast9:13What to expect at Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week
‘A protector’ of stories through fashion: designer
Yolonda Skelton, a member of the Gitxsan Nation and founder of clothing brand Sugiit Lukxs Designs, says she uses art and fashion to tell stories.
“A lot of my work comes from traditional stories that my grandmother, aunts and uncles taught me. It’s in our culture,” Skelton said. On the coastguest host Margaret Gallagher.
“I’m kind of like an ambassador and a protector who brings those stories to life so that they’re passed on to the next generation, so a kind of mentorship.
“I think fashion is a sure way,” added Skelton, whose work was featured in one of VIFW’s opening night shows.
“It’s a very expressive and safe way to have a dialogue for reconciliation.”
“Fashion is not for the weak”
VIFW also includes a mentorship program that provides 16 Indigenous youth and adults with eight-week training. The program aims to connect mentees with fashion design and event production mentors in the industry.
MittonhopesVIFW inspires people to enter fashion school.
“Fashion isn’t for the weak, it’s for the strong. And like being able to make money, it’s really hard,” Mitton said.
The first edition6:58Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week kicks off today after a two-year hiatus
“So it’s like if you go to a company, you have to put in your thousand hours.”
Baker adds that there are many parts of the industry to consider.
“There may be a person who is a fantastic seamstress who could work with a design house and gain experience. You also have the coordinators, you also have lighting technicians, you also have music.”
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