The pandemic has thrown everything through a loop, but the show must go on, which is exactly what’s happening with Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.
The event however, is shifting to an online platform because of COVID-19, from November 6th to the 29th. IFWTO is a fashion, craft and textiles festival presenting distinct and progressive Indigenous-made works. There will be four live runway showcases, 50+ marketplace exhibitors, an art exhibition, hands-on workshops and a panel series.
I had the chance to get a sneak peak at a show by designer Evan Ducharme, a Metis artist with ancestral ties to the Cree, Ojibwe, and Saulteaux peoples. He is from the historic Metis community of St. Ambroise, Manitoba (Treaty 1 Territory). It was being filmed at Toronto’s Habourfront Centre in the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery building with very minimal crew on set.
Director – Shane Belcourt
Choerographer – Brian Solomon
Virtual Stage Manager – Candance Scott- Moore
Cinematorgrapher – Jon Elliot
On Set DM/ Camera – Adam Phipps
Model – Dori Tunstall
The set consists of dark stones on the outside, and light coloured stones directly down the middle where the model (Dori Tunstall) dances wearing a beautiful, flowy red dress and black feathers in her hair (designed by Evan Ducharme). Crystals hang from above, although sticks are acting as the chandelier.
With the help of Sage Paul, Artistic Director of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, everything came together seamlessly creating not only a beautiful show, but inspiring stories.
Paul is a Toronto native with her Indigenous roots stemming from English River First Nation. Her vast experience in fashion along with her Indigenous perspective adds to the vision of IFWTO; to connect mainstream fashion, Indigenous art, and traditional practice.
Paul oversees all programming, envisioning what Indigenous fashion looks like as an arts collective organization, understanding the community and the designers, while working directly with them to provide a space for them that helps them grow their work. Paul’s passion for fashion began as a designer herself leading her to create a place for other designers to display their talents.
Typically, two years of intensive planning goes into IFWTO and the online platform meant all plans had to be readjusted.
Sage says she hopes for a strong, thriving community of designers, audiences and customers in support of Indigenous fashion, and she adds, she will always find herself fully immersed in the process for all the years to come.
As November rolls around, you will be able to see the work of various Indigenous designers online both on the ifwtoronto.com or harbourfrontcentre.com websites.
The show runs from November 26th to November 29th, 2020.