Sunday, July 30, 2017

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week, Friday July 28, 2017

Written by Colleen Tsoukalas
Photos by Dianna Drahanchuk 

This was the Red Dress Showcase, so the runway featured red and attendees were asked to wear red in honor and memory of the lost and murdered indigenous women across Canada. Red, the color of passion, blood, heart and life brought us together on the runway, in the audience and everywhere inside and outside of the Queen Elizabeth Plaza.

Mandy Nahanee is such a powerful emcee, leading us in a celebration of Indigenous culture, its history and resilience. We were compelled, following her example, to sing, to dance, to raise fists, to mourn, to be angry, to be awed, to smile. Lorelei Williams, also an impressive emcee and community leader, especially for youth, led the Butterflies in Spirit Dancers, in a quest that tragically, is ongoing. This dance and the song, "Sisterz". by rappers JB The First Lady and Chief Rock Enter Tribal, truly emphasized loss and grief: "I'm looking for my sister, where did she go..?" An Eagle Dance, also brought families who lost loved ones, to the floor.

We saw 8 designers, this evening, including the jewellery and clothing of Bill Reid (from the Bill Reid Gallery) and many artifacts from The Museum of Anthropology. It was, in so many ways, a night of partnerships, collaborations and immersion.

Dianna did her best to capture the designers after each of their collections:

Derek Packer
Evan Ducharme
Dominique Hanke
Linda Kay
Bill Reid (vest)
Curtis Oland (his models raised their fists as they walked. The audience did too.
Mia Hunt
Dorothy Grant

The designs say it all. For further details and you know you want them, go to VIFW.

Thank you to Dianna Drahanchuk for the photos.

Mandy Nahanee

First up, we met 10 year old Derek Packer, who 
made a special dress for his sister. 

Evan Ducharme's ATAVISM (resiliency and strength) collection, 
a testament to his Metis heritage. This was a collaboration with 3 other 
artisans. The Metis sash belts were woven by his material grandmother, 
Cathy Allard. 

The  straw hats and the 40's portrait style hat are by Dominique Hanke of Hive Mind 
Millinery. Katie Garnham made leather keychains featuring the words: 
RESIST, DECOLONIZE, UNSETTLE. (Thank you, Evan for the brochure containing 
the descriptions, the credits and the photographs. You teach all of us, this way). 

Linda Kay's collection 

Linda Kay and models

Bill Reid vest jacket

Butterflies in Spirit (founded by Lorelei Williams) dancer

Rapper, JB, singing "Sisterz"

The Eagle Dance

Curtis Oland's collection

Designer, Curtis Oland

Mia Hunt's collection 

Designer Mia Hunt and models

Dorothy Grant's collection

Dorothy Grant

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