The biennial Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival is a celebration of Indigenous artists’ fashion, style, and art expressing, paying homage to, and reflecting on their culture and heritage across the Americas. The festival runs June 9th-12th at the Harbourfront Centre on Toronto’s lakeshore and features fashion shows, panels, workshops, exclusive online content, and a marketplace presenting over 60 designers.
The Indigenous Fashion Arts Marketplace is open June 10th-12th at Harbourfront Centre’s Lakeview Market. On Friday, it is open 5:30-9 pm. Saturday, it is open 10 am-6:30 pm. Sunday, it is open 10 am-5 pm. The Marketplace will have exhibitors selling fashion, crafts, textiles, jewellery, gifts, and more.
The Marketplace is split into sections, clustering artists together to flow through the dynamic range of creators and cultures participating. The sections include: The Showroom, From The Pow Wow Trail, Made From The Land, Designs To Keep Warm To, Trending, For Beadwork Lovers, Aunty Glam, Grassroots and Local, and the Manitoba Spotlight. Here are some highlights:
Native Arts Society will be in the Original Makers Space section. They are an Indigenous/Two-Spirit/Queer/Trans led community organization and retail store; its home base is located on Church st. Native Arts Society supports unhoused, incarcerated modern Inuit artists – their products range from clothing to totes, accessories, and art. A booth to watch out for; they also have an online store.
PACHA Indigenous Art Collection is a Kichwa family-owned business based in Toronto. They focus on handmade clothing, accessories, and textiles by Indigenous artists from across North and South America. Their mission is about reconnecting trade relations across borders i.e. the “Mindalae tradition: meaning, the longstanding practice of commerce and trade outside our home territory.” Their booth will be in the Grassroots and Local section; they also have an online store.
Metis artist and maker Beth Anne McIvor makes ceramic jewellery when she isn’t taking gigs as a professional makeup artist. Her work is beautiful and unique. The impressions in her ceramic are “traditional plant medicines, beading and designs inspired by Creator.” Her booth is in the Manitoba Spotlight section; check out her Instagram here.
The Beadwork Lovers section is stacked with some incredible artists. Blu Hummingbird Beadwork by Brit Ellis has a broad range of styles to choose from. “Brit is a Haudenosaunee woman of mixed ancestry currently living in Tkaronto” her work has been featured by CBC, TVO and many more Canadian spotlights. Lisa.beading (Lisa Walker) and Capitol M Beading (Mishelle LaVoie) are also ones to look for. Lisa Walker is a mixed Indigenous Haisla/British artist and works from her home on unceded Kwikwetlem territories, “Beading is medicine for her, as well as a way to learn her language by naming each piece with a Haislakala word.” Mishelle LaVoie is a Sahtu Metis artist and designer, born in Inuvik, NT, and now resides in Yellowknife, NT. “Mishelle takes inspiration from all aspects of her life and enjoys the whole design process, from the design layout, choosing colours, and stitching one bead at a time.”
Taalrumiq, Christina King’s booth is located in the Designs to Keep Warm section. Christina is from Tuktuuyaqtuuq, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Northwest Territories, where she was raised with her Inuvialuit family and community – “Gifted an ancestral family name at birth by local Elders, she was named after her great-grandmother Taalrumiq.” Taalrumiq wishes to share Inuvialuit Culture with the world while “reclaiming loss of culture, pride in Indigenous identity, and healing of intergenerational trauma.” You can also shop her work online.
The Indigenous Fashion Arts Marketplace is full of so many more vendors – you can take a look at their website for the full list and a map of where each booth will be. As a final recommendation, check out Born in the North – located in the Trending section. Created by twin brothers, Chris & Greg Mitchell, “their Mi’kmaq heritage inspires [their] artwork along with music exploration and a Canadian upbringing.” Born in the North features fashion and textile products focusing on the relationship between humans and nature in their designs.