Saturday, November 25, 2023

Kanayu Rebecca Baker-Grenier Award Winning Designer Shines at Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week Red Dress Event Nov 20, 2023

I first saw Rebecca's impressive designs at Copper & Cocktails,  #copperandcocktails, Oct 7,  at Vancouver Art Gallery. Note that there was a fantastic show, at the gallery, this Spring: FASHION FICTIONS, featuring many Indigenous Designers. The Copper & Cocktails event then is well placed at the gallery and is so important because it is a preview of the Fashion, Art and Performance that was showcased at Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week Nov 20-25 at Queen Elizabeth theatre. In the gallery's cavernous, shadowy rooftop space, Rebecca's clothing for women and men, was a powerful statement, especially because the models (Supernaturals Modelling) were elevated on blocks, and radiated confidence and cultural pride. I loved that the colours were soft but strong, cream, copper, belted, tiered, complex and flattering. My favourites were the coats and jackets, with touches of pattern on the collar, or some design on the front and then full design on the back. The Chilkat woven overlay on one of the dresses, was both ceremonial and modern. Rebecca says that she will be bringing more of this into her future collections. See my instagram reels here and here to see my coverage of the events!

So much has been written about Rebecca. She was recently featured in Vogue Magazine for The Red Dress Event Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week. Her first collection debuted at New York Fashion Week. Imagine! Fashion Writers, Marilyn R. Wilson and Andrew Jackson, Dress The Part, have interviewed her. You can also see more Vancouver Fashion Week as she was shining there, this season.

Kanayu, is Rebecca's brand, one that is designed to strengthen and empower people and the Art Form. From the Skowkale Territory, B.C., Rebecca is Kwakiutl/Dzawada'enuxwl/Skwxwu7mesh and brings her culture and history into her Art and Fashion. Her quiet, confident vision was very much in evidence as she met with me, in her busy dressing room, on the evening of her show. The door kept opening, phone was buzzing and her "We Are Warriors" lay spread around her, waiting for its chance to shimmer and dance down the runway. There was energy and the sense that all was well done and ready. This is Rebeca Baker -Grenier!

Q. What inspires you when you are creating?

A, My culture and nature around me are strongly reflected. Copper is in the copper shields and there are the colours of metal, soft blues, flecks of gold, greys. The sounds of trees, water and birds, create atmosphere. Wherever I am, they are there.

Q. How are your designs a reflection of what is happening in society today?

A. My "We Are Warriors" Collection, is from my heritage of fighting to protect the land and our culture and the strength and resilience needed to fight colonization and to work endlessly for revitalization and representation. We need to take time to reflect and to build for the next generation.

Q.Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is continuing your Brand important?

A. The Fashion comes from within. The Brand will expand to make it even more accessible, more ready to wear for everyone. I plan to explore Chalkat weaving more.

Q. Your first collection was at New York Fashion Week. Who was most influential in getting you there?

A. "I saw an application and I applied." You have to look for opportunities. Himikalas Pam Baker has been instrumental, a true mentor/teacher and I apprenticed with her for one year. She has built my self confidence and has been the 'push' in my journey. She is Family.

Q. You are a long time POW WOW Dancer. You are also Artistic Associate for the Dancers of DAMELAHAMID and the Festival Associate for Coastal Dance Festival.How does dance influence your Art?

A. Dance is a form of Art. It is who we are. It is stories through movement. You can see warrior history and regalia in the wood, copper and leather designs in my collection. Family comes into this, too. My husband is one of the dancers in my show, this time. 

Thank you to Rebecca Baker-Grenier for her time and her words of wisdom. I bow to her Art, her Fashion and to the movement I see in each piece. This is a Designer who has much to share with all of us. Note that that the two photos of the red cape she designed, are worn by Cree Model Owen Unruh @owenunruh who is two spirit and was chosen to wear red to honour murdered and missing Indigenous 2 spirit people.

Rebecca Baker-Grenier

1 comment:

jones elizabeth said...

honoring and celebrating remarkable achievements in sustainable fashion—an inspiring recognition that contributes to a more conscious and eco-friendly industry.... Melissa McCarthy

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