TORONTO — Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) returns to Harbourfront Centre for the second biennial event May 28-31, 2020. The Runway Program will take place at a larger venue, the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, due to the incredible demand at the inaugural event in 2018.
A focus on cultural, intergenerational and artistic exchange at IFWTO 2020 will bring together several designers and artists of diverse artistic disciplines, ages and cultures in four runway shows, over 50 marketplace exhibitors, an art exhibit at the Harbourfront Centre Artport Gallery, a lecture series and hands-on workshops.
IFWTO 2020 is thrilled to announce 23 Canadian and International Indigenous artists and designers who will present new designs in fashion, textiles and crafts during four live runway presentations. Some of the selected designers include: political streetwear brand Section 35; Philippines weaving social enterprise Kandama; renowned visual and craft artist Amy Malbeuf; beading and tanning social enterprise Tania Larsson by Tania Larsson, who is also a founder of Dene Nahjo Urban Hide Tanning Camp; and Victoria’s Arctic Fashion, who recently presented an Inuit couture collection at Paris Fashion Week.
IFWTO 2020 Runway is curatorially underscored by the interconnectedness through and to water. The IFWTO Selections Committee recognizes mainstream and Indigenous fashion as it relates to climate seasons that correspond to the land, water, harvests and moon. Seasons occur and change, in part, due to the tidal force of the moon on the waters. Water is a vital resource and is sacred for Indigenous people around the world. It is protected and nurtured by women and carries metaphorical and literal connections to blood and life. In relation to fashion, both Indigenous and mainstream, water is an undeniable resource and life force that must be protected and nurtured.
The Opening Night Runway presentation at IFWTO on May 28, 2020 will showcase those creating fashion as a form of protest for the protection of water, land, people and culture. This program, titled “TU GH’EH NAH (Water is Life)” will include Section 35, Skawennati, Indi City, Miss Chief Rocka and Mobilize Waskawewin.
Water covers over 70% of the earth’s surface. Since time immemorial, the great oceans have acted as both barrier and bridge to connecting peoples around the globe. The Global Program on May 29, 2020 celebrates water as a bridge for exchange, highlighting our interconnectedness as Indigenous peoples through the presentation of designers from Canada and beyond. This program, titled “TU CHO (Big Water)” will present Tradara (Australia), Celeste Pedri-Spade (Canada), Designs by Della (USA), Kandama (Philippines), Warren Steven Scott (Canada) and Maru Creations (New Zealand).
Rivers and streams are the veins of the earth, integral to sustaining life on land. The “TU GH’EG TL’E’TH (Streams)” program on May 30, 2020 will present Margaret Jacobs, Louise Solomon of Hand of Solomon, Victoria’s Arctic Fashion, Amy Malbeuf, Curtis Oland, Tania Larsson and Evan Ducharme – designers that present works materially and conceptually rooted in that connection.
The Closing Night Program on May 31, 2020 will honour and celebrate womxn as water carriers. Foregrounding IFTWO’s mandate to program over 50% Indigenous womxn designers, the “TU GH’EL T’ILHN (Water Carriers)” program will include contemporary collections by Pasapa, Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design, Bobby Itta Designs, Angela DeMontigny & Jason Baerg, and Lesley Hampton.
“Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto is proud to announce a program of traditional and contemporary garments, crafts and textile works that show Indigenous fashion at the exciting intersection of mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and traditional culture,” says Sage Paul, Artistic Director. “The programmed runway artists and designers are diverse and individually unique in vision, style, skill and form. They have created beautiful collections of garments, accessories and jewellery that carry cultural continuity in their artistic creation and presentation and promote the economic development of our communities that I think will insightfully captivate audiences.”
Additional Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto programming details and complete schedule will be announced in 2020, including special programs, marketplace, art exhibit, workshops and panels.
Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto is a four-day multi-platform festival of the most distinct and progressive Indigenous-made fashion, craft and textiles, challenging mainstream perceptions of Indigenous people and culture, which are often stereotyped, commodified or exploited. IFWTO is led by majority Indigenous women, offering audiences an authentic, accessible opportunity to connect with Indigenous artists and celebrate cultural expression.
Ticket sales will open Spring 2020 while workshop announcements and registration will open winter 2019/2020 for Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8 – 9:30pm: TU GH’EH NAH (Water Is Life), Friday, May 29, 2020, 8 – 9:30pm: TU CHO (Big Water), Saturday, May 30, 2020 8 – 9:30pm: TU GH’EG TL’E’TH (Water Streams) and Sunday, May 31, 2020, 4 – 5:30pm: TU GH’EL T’ILHN (Water Carriers).