The inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) will take place May 31 – June 3, 2018 at Harbourfront Centre, presenting the most distinct and progressive Indigenous artists working in fashion, textiles and craft. IFWTO launches with runway showcases, a curated exhibition, panels and lectures, hands-on workshops, and a market place, including works by 75% Indigenous women artists and a Far North Spotlight with delegations travelling from Nunavut and Greenland.
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Founded by Dene artist, designer and innovative leader Sage Paul, Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto is committed to presenting and exporting Indigenous-made works for the advancement and empowerment of Indigenous artists and designers.
“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.”
The Indigenous artists and designers presenting live runway shows 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.
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto live runway showcases will take place over four days and are inspired by the traditional seasons of the moon: New Moon recognizes spring and birth, this show will create space for new work and foster emerging artists; Berry Moon celebrates summer and pow wow season, and will feature traditionally inspired work and regalia of the future; Frost Moon enters the winter months and will showcase Inuk street style from Nunavut and Greenland and high Dene fashion featuring seal fur, vibrant colour and bone; and Harvest Moon, a time of year to gather and prepare for the winter months, is an intergenerational honouring of matriarchs, with designs that recognize the vitality of stories and teachings passed through generations.
The IFWTO lectures and panels will provide opportunity for all audiences to understand Indigenous fashion, including Indigenous Dyes & Fibres, Storytelling & Symbolism in Textiles & Design, Cultural (In)Appropriation, Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Indigenous Fashion Futurisms. Panelists and lecturers will include Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, designers, arts and fashion industry, academics and thought leaders.
The multi-day, hands-on workshops at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto will include Indigo Dyeing (Tuscarora Nation), Black Walnut Dyeing (Tuscarora Nation), Navajo Rug Weaving, and Beading for Beginners (Dene Nation). The Trade & Consumer Market Place will feature over 40 vendors in Indigenous fashion, food, cosmetics, lifestyle, craft, textiles and more.
About Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto:
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto is a four-day multi-platform festival of the most distinct and progressive Indigenous-made fashion, craft and textiles launching May 31-June 3, 2018, challenging mainstream perceptions of Indigenous peoIple and culture, which are often stereotyped, commodified or exploited. IFWTO is led by Indigenous women, offering audiences an authentic, accessible opportunity to connect with Indigenous artists and celebrate cultural expression.
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