Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week’s Joleen Mitton and Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto’s Sage Paul join with Indigenous designers from Ay Lelum and Anne Mulaire to share stories, insights, and Indigenous fashion resources that you can bring into your classrooms and lives. The panel will be moderated by Lindsay Heller, Indigenous curriculum and policy consultant.
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Sage Paul is an urban Denesuliné woman based in Toronto and a member of English River First Nation. Her ethos centres family, sovereignty and resistance for balance. Sage is the Artistic Director of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, which she also co-founded.
She has been instrumental in establishing and leading projects for Indigenous artists working in fashion, craft and textiles through several projects with IFWTO, Inland, Ikea Canada, the International Fashion Showcase during London Fashion Week, Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator, the Canadian Trade Commissions in South Africa and London, Artscape Launchpad and Canadian department store Simon’s. Sage has contributed to InStudio Magazine (Banff Centre for the Arts), Walker Reader (Walker Arts Centre) and TEDx Toronto and has provided consultation for Ryerson University, Urbani_T, Canadian Art and Fashion Awards, Harbourfront Centre and several others, including artists in the art and fashion sectors. Sage teaches the Contemporary Indigenous Fashion and Jewellery program at George Brown College, which she also developed.
In 2019, Sage was nominated for the Premier’s Award in Creative Art and Design and was recognized as “… leading Canada’s Indigenous Fashion Movement” (En Route Magazine). Sage received the Design Exchange RBC Emerging Designer Award and was honoured by the Ontario Minister of the Status of Women as a trailblazing woman who is transforming Ontario. Sage likes to call herself a philosopher and artist.
The ideas and process in the creation of her fashion and craft are catharsis of an urban Denesuline woman experience – resourceful, intentional and resilient. She up-cycles fabrics and incorporates natural materials like raw hide and antlers into her fashion, which has been exhibited in a few art and fashion shows. Sometimes she retails it too. But, creating is her favourite part.
Andréanne Mulaire Dandeneau was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba—Winnipeg’s thriving French quarter. She is the great-great-great granddaughter of Catherine Mulaire, who was born 1843. A daughter of a Voyageur and the first rural Métis teacher in the Red River Settlement, Catherine was also an accomplished seamstress whose embroidery continues to inspire the designs of Anne Mulaire.
Andréanne was raised to embrace her Ojibwe/French héritage, respect all people, and honour the planet we share—principles that still guide her as a businesswoman and a designer. Her mother, Huguette, raised her to care deeply about the environment and, as a teacher, taught her to be proud of her Métis heritage. Her father, David, influenced Andréanne through his art. He brings his talents to the table by creating Métis prints for the company’s Heritage Collection. Today, Huguette and David still work by Andréanne’s side—motivating and inspiring her.
Anne started dancing at the age of 14 years. Her main dance style was Contemporary dancing. Unable to find comfortable dance wear, Anne began to design her own dance wear and costumes. She designed costumes for Nafro Dance Productions for ten years and loved every moment of it! With these well-researched creations, Anne became aware of movement as well as cultural sensitivity and how it inspired and affected her designs. To this day, these guiding principles along with the importance of comfort and style continue to inspire her collections.
Anne has been an entrepreneur since 2005, a year after graduating from LaSalle College School of Fashion Design in Montreal, one of Canada’s top design programs. Her earliest fans and customers will remember her company as MJ Anne Couture and VOILÀ par Andréanne. Today she operates as Anne Mulaire. It’s a name she is proud to bear. It’s a label you’ll be proud to wear.
Spanning almost two decades, Joleen Mitton’s modelling career has landed her spots in campaigns for the likes of Kenzo, Clinique, and Vivienne Westwood, on countless runways in Asia, and in print ads for everything from high-tech air conditioners to Hello Kitty paraphernalia. Now Mitton, founder of the upcoming Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week! Turtle Island First Indigenous Fashion week! Owner/Operator of All My Relations LTD and Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week, a company that produces Indigenous Fashion shows with clothing designed by local Indigenous Designers and worn by models of First Nation/Metis and Inuit descent.
Although Joleen loved the art aspect of the fashion world she didn’t always agree with it and wanted more substance in her life. Now residing back in Vancouver at Skwachàys as an artist and resident where she’s dedicated to working with Indigenous communities through numerous non-profits; connecting through art, fashion and understanding.
Through Producing Aboriginal Fashion Shows and Basketball Tournaments across the city, Joleen has succeeded in raising awareness for local Indigenous fashion and the Native Basketball community by hosting tournaments and producing Fashion shows in Vancouver.
Joleen is dedicated to improving the lives of people in her community, working intimately with a number of local non-profits, putting her PR, marketing, social media and producing skills to good use. Joleen works weekends with the Indigenous Urban Butterflies Day Camp, a program for children in foster care and the Mentor Me program, which is for Native girl's ageing out of foster care, and somehow manages and plays on All My Relations women's basketball team in her free time.
Ay Lelum The Good House of Design is a second-generation Coast Salish Design House from Nanaimo, B.C. This brand of ready-wear and Coast Salish Couture is designed and produced in B.C. by sisters, Aunalee and Sophia, mentored in fashion design by their Mother, Sandra Moorhouse-Good. They collaborate with and feature artwork by their Father, Traditional Coast Salish Artist William Good and their brother, W. Joel Good, from the Snuneymuxw First Nation.
They incorporate family designs into their creations and develop their own patterns for fabrics, using eco-friendly fabrics whenever possible. Each showcase is inspired by cultural teachings and artwork taught by their Father, while following strict cultural protocols to create a modern form of storytelling through garment design. They combine the ancient and traditional art form with modern style, making their couture pieces in their studio home in Nanaimo and manufacturing ready to wear in Vancouver.
Ay Lelum has been awarded the distinction of a 2018 Indigenous Business of the Year Award through the BC Achievement Foundation, Top 5 Best Marketer 2019 through Small Business BC, and Excellence in Culture 2021 through the City of Nanaimo.
Ay Lelum also records their own music as part of the design process and is a Verified Spotify Artist.
Lindsay is a Nehiyaw scholar, Dialogue Associate at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, and skilled facilitator from the Michel First Nation who lives on unceded Musqueam territory. Her teaching and research focuses on the weaving of Indigenous Knowledge with Western science, and Indigenous curricula development.
Her professional focus is on Indigenization initiatives and trauma-informed dialogue with an emphasis on approaching this work from a decolonized perspective; this perspective is critical and foundational when engaging in all forms of anti-racism and equity work.
She has developed and refined her facilitation and consulting skills in a wide variety of dialogues including the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, SFU’s Centre for Dialogue Community Responses to Racism, consultations for the Province of British Columbia on pandemic restrictions, and with several post-secondary clients wishing to engage in Indigenization, decolonization, and a variety of equity and anti-racism work. These include Simon Fraser University, Adler University, Vancouver Community College and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
In her capacity on SFU’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council, Lindsay has a strong leadership and advocacy role in informing policy and structures relating to Indigenizing and Decolonizing the institution.
Lindsay’s experience working in collaborative research and engaging with Indigenous communities has led to a passion for innovating new engagement processes that advance the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Her teaching practice centers on respectfully privileging Indigenous knowledge and positioning the Indigenous community in a more equitable and respectful standing within institutions. Lindsay began her professional career as a pharmaceutical research scientist and brings over a decade of experience in both academic and industry environments. In her free time, Lindsay spends time reclaiming her Nehiyaw language with her daughters, spending time out on the land, growing sustainable food in her yard and playing basketball.