IFWTO Starts Today and You Can Shop These Incredible Indigenous Designers
The biennial showcase of Indigenous fashion has gone digital for 2020, and you can now shop the curated marketplace of emerging and acclaimed designers online
Created by Indigenous activist and artist Sage Paul in 2016, Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto is a biennial showcase and celebration of Indigenous designers and artisans from around the country. This year’s four-day event—which was originally planned for the spring before being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—has gone completely virtual with the launch of a new website that will house its previously IRL marketplace as well as panel discussions with fashion industry experts and runway presentations and that were filmed back in August.
While it’s certainly disappointing that the lockdown has meant we won’t be able to see the presentations live this year, the silver lining of IFWTO’s new digital iteration means that a wider audience can now view—and shop!—creations by artists and brands like Lesley Hampton, Mad Aunty, Catherine Blackburn, Running Fox Beads and many more.
Here, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favourite items on sale at this year’s marketplace, on from November 26 to 29. What better way to #shoplocal this holiday season than to support an Indigenous designer?
1/10 Audrey Deroy
Bracelet, $65, ifwtoronto.shop
Audrey Deroy uses natural materials such as wood, bark, quills, shells, stones and more to create beautiful keepsakes that can be worn and loved for generations.
2/10 Blu Hummingbird
Moon Phase Earrings, $265, ifwtoronto.shop
Brit Ellis is the Tkaronto-based Haudenosaunee artist behind Blu Hummingbird. Her multidisciplinary work is influenced by pop culture, drag and tattoo art, blending traditional techniques with a contemporary vision.
3/10 Born in the North
Strawberry Kokum Scarf, $25, ifwtoronto.shop
Twin brothers Christopher and Gregory Mitchell created Born in the North as a way to honour their Mi’kmaq culture through contemporary streetwear designs.
4/10 LVH Jewellery
Qullik Earrings, $160, ifwtoronto.shop
Inuk designer Lavinia Van Heuvelen creates striking sterling silver jewellery inspired by the natural landscapes in Nunavut. These Qullik earrings are modelled after traditional oil lamps used in the north.
5/10 Running Fox Beads
Wild Rose Hair Clip, $169.50, ifwtoronto.shop
Dene artist Skye Paul created Running Fox Beads as a way to bring traditional Indigenous practices to younger, urban generations. Her beadwork often references tattoo art and pop culture, making it accessible to a wide audience.
6/10 Sheila Demerah
Beaded Moccasins, $350, ifwtoronto.shop
Anishinaabekwe maker Sheila Demerah has been perfecting her craft for almost 15 years, honouring traditional beading and leatherwork practices to make these gorgeous embellished moccasins.
7/10 Mad Aunty
Awas Dangles, $75, ifwtoronto.shop
Artist Joi T. Archand uses the Cree language and syllabics as the focal designs in her bold statement jewellery brand Mad Aunty. These cheeky Awas earring translate to English as “go away.”
8/10 Lesley Hampton
Stripe Crop, $80, ifwtoronto.shop
Acclaimed Anishinaabe and Mohawk designer Lesley Hampton is a body-positivity advocate whose flattering designs often convey poignant messages about Indigenous peoples’ place and treatment in modern Canada.
9/10 Niio Perkins
Medallion, $400, ifwtoronto.shop
Niio Perkins is an Akwesasne, NY-based Haudenosaunee artist whose work gorgeously exemplifies the traditional Iroquois raised beadwork technique.
10/10 Tania Larsson
Earrings, $335, ifwtoronto.shop
Emerging designer Tania Larsson creates accessories using land-based materials that reflect her Gwich’in culture.