Some of the world’s top Indigenous designers brought their latest styles to the catwalk — and made bold cultural statements — at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.
The four-day inaugural event showcased some of the most distinct and innovative work of 23 Indigenous artists and designers from Canada, the U.S. and Greenland.
A live runway event each night was inspired by the traditional seasons of the moon. The first in the series, New Moon, created a platform for emerging indigenous designers.
Berry Moon’s designs were in celebration of summer and the pow wow season.
Frost Moon featured Inuk street style from Nunavut and Greenland.
The final runway night, Harvest Moon, was an inter-generational event honouring of matriarchs, with designs that recognized the vitality of traditional stories and teachings that have been passed on through generations.
Here are some memorable moments and images from Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.
The event was more than a fashion show. The opening night kicked off with a musical performance by Cris Derksen, a young classically trained Cree cellist.
- Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto kicks off with new and up and coming designers
Besides performances like Derksen’s and the runway shows, Indigenous Fashion Week also featured a marketplace, workshops and panels.
Why Toronto’s first Indigenous Fashion Week is about so much more than the runways
The clothes and accessories incorporated and celebrated the rich cultural craft traditions of Indigenous life as contemporary fashion.
- New Brunswick designer selected for first-ever Indigenous Fashion week
This ensemble was designed by British Columbia-based Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw designer Meghann O’Brien.
She adopts traditional art forms used in basket- weaving into her clothing designs.
- Chippewa artist’s latest display part of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto kick-off party
Stories meet style
- Inuit ‘wear their culture on their sleeve, literally’: Inuk designer gears up for Indigenous fashion week
In this case, the designer’s inspiration was land sovereignty and the relationship between people and the environment.
Artistic director Sage Paul on Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto
Women as warriors
Saskatchewan-based Dene designer Catherine Blackburn used concepts of traditional bead work to create futuristic “armour.”
“I see Indigenous women as warriors because of the constant battle it is to always prove something, to always try to break those stereotypical barriers that hold us back,” she says.