Indigenous-Owned Fashion Brands You’re Going to Love

It’s no secret that fashion often overlooks ethnic representation, leaving creatives of color feeling unseen in the fashion industry. However, in recent years, more indigenous-owned fashion brands have been emerging and are championing the causes of cultural representation, upcycling and sustainability. In celebration of bold techiniques, crafty use of materials, and incredible design, this guide showcases a list of amazing Indigenous fashion labels that are sure to have something special for you.

A Brief History of Indigenous Design

Historically, Indigenous people around the world have used fabric not only as clothing, but also to make rugs, wall hangings, and headbands, as well as as symbols of wealth and social status. Textiles, leather and feathers are central to many Indigenous cultures and incorporate intricate geometric designs and symbols, inspired by nature. By combining visuals with stories and teachings, fabric has become an important way to keep traditions alive.

Fashion Designers with Indigenous Roots

Over the past few years, several talented fashion designers have emerged, producing high-end fashion collections, with intricate craftsmanship and print using fabrics and materials inspired by the elements and symbolism of their culture’s ancestry. Here we take a look at some of the Indigenous fashion brands making strides to put Indigenous cultures, craftsmanship and histories on the fashion map.

Seriah Bouma of Midnite Ryder

Midnite Ryder is a contemporary menswear label that pays homage to founder Seriah Bouma’s Indigenous Coast Salish culture. The label combines modern and traditional silhouettes, and celebrates craftsmanship with bold patterns and prints. Each garment is crafted to perfection, featuring intricate Patchwork, fringe, and beading details, hand-crafted by Indigenous artist from Turtle-Island.

Sparrow House

Sparrow House is a Vancouver based fashion label founded by Métis designer Peggy Fecteau. The label focuses on contemporary Indigenous designs with reversible basics, prints and casual separates inspired by Métis culture and heritage. Most items are unisex, and all are made with Indigenous sourced fabrics and materials.

Feather & Stone Clothing

Feather & Stone Clothing is a brand by two sisters of Cree and Metis decent, Tomarra and Martha Whiteley. Inspired by the beauty of nature and their Indigenous roots, their collections feature nature-inspired prints and loose, natural silhouettes. The label combines traditional knowledge, modern design and bold colour combos for an energetic take on street style.

Samantha Stevenson of Stolen Arrow

Created by Samantha Stevenson, a citizen of the Nooksack Tribe, Stolen Arrows uses traditional Coast Salish weaving techniques to create bold accessories with a modern twist. The label produces handbags and backpacks mainly from upcycled materials and vintage fabric. Each piece is a statement of tribal culture and a timeless accessory to pair with any look.

Kathleen Kinsman Wilding of Wapiti Collective

Wapiti Collective is a Vancouver based fashion label founded and designed by Kathleen Kinsman Wilding. Inspired by her Métis roots, the label’s goal is to bring awareness to Indigenous-made fashion and honor the craftsmanship of Métis culture. Each piece is artfully crafted with leather, and includes custom-made textiles, bags and signature native hand-beadwork.

Lesley Hampton

Lesley Hampton is a fashion house dedicated to socially and environmentally conscious fashion, and encouraging diversity within creative mediums. The label was created by recent Central Saint Martin’s alumni, poet, artist and designer Lesley Hampton, of Cree, Ojibwe, and Anishinaabe ancestry. The collections use materials sourced from sustainable sources such as recycled garments, vegan leather, and prints that pay homage to Hampton’s tribal identity.

Eliza Faulkner

Eliza Faulkner is a fashion designer of Mi’kmaq descent, whose fashion aesthetic aims to empower women to feel comfortable in their own skin. Her line incorporates bold cut-outs, intricately detailed laser cut skirts and dresses, and mesh ski-masks. The label’s use of line, texture and form stands firmly against colonialism by representing the traditional Mi’kmaq way of thought.

Indigenous fashion design is a unique form of self-expression and a celebration of culture and traditions. As more Indigenous brands enter the fashion market, it provides better representation for cultures and people of color in the fashion industry. These inspiring labels, as well as many Indigenous-owned brands, offer a new opportunity for fashion-focused shoppers to enjoy socially responsible, culturally relevant pieces that are as stylish as they are meaningful.

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