Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Turtle Island, presently known as Canada emerged from lineages of colonial institutions and laws upon Aboriginal peoples, which imposed an attempted erasure of their culture and existence. Communities face (d) decades of these inhibiting colonial laws; where mental, spiritual, emotional and physical connections were under attack, but not lost. Last week, we had the honour and privilege to stand in solidarity with our allies during the second edition of Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (VIFW 2019). We saw the importance of teachings and story-telling concerning deeply embedded relationships to the land, and the evolution of various Indigenous expressions, through fashion.
"VIFW, founded by Joleen Alicia Mitton, bridges the past, present and future of Indigenous resurgence by showcasing the expression and evolution of modern Indigenous designers. Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (VIFW) exists at the intersection of contemporary Indigenous fashion and community development and healing. Mixing the legacy of Indigenous artistry with modern day high regalia and street styles, and engaging in mentorship across generations in design, artistry, and production, VIFW goes beyond surface beauty and highlights how worn identity can build connection with Indigenous values, wisdom, empowerment, and history. The mission of VIFW is to bring global recognition to Indigenous fashion designers and artisans from the Northwest coast and across Turtle Island. VIFW showcases the power and beauty of authentic Indigenous art and design by supporting talent development and organizing showcases throughout the year, culminating with Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week."
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada (MMIWG) refers to a human rights crisis that has only recently become a topic flashing across media platforms. The term flashing is significant, as it is in tandem with the attempted erasure of First Nation's Culture. With the release of the National Inquiry’s final report and accompanying Calls to Justice earlier this year, communities have been called upon to confront ongoing injustice and to craft a society rooted in respect, safety, and dignity for all Indigenous women and girls. We were invited to wear red in honour of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, girls LGBQ, and Two Spirit community.
We thank Joleen and her teams for the opportunity to share with us and educate us about such rich histories, talents and futures. As she mentions in the interview, "we've got a long road ahead, but it has to happen/it's happening." We look forward to the third edition!
"Don't Hesitate to Create"