Indigenous fashion designers from across Turtle Island (North America) are coming to Vancouver this month for a huge celebration of artistry and resilience.
Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (VIFW) takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from November 20 to 25.
The highly anticipated third edition of VIFW will feature a Supernatural Kiki Ball, an Indigenous artisan marketplace, and over 30 Indigenous designers with new collections on the runway. And tickets are on sale now.
A highlight of the 2023 event is the 15 Indigenous artisans and designers from the Northwest Territories. According to Joleen Mitton, founder and co-producer of VIFW, the collections will display rich heritage and traditions inspired by the beauty and expanse of the Arctic.
“We are excited to feature designers from the Northwest Territories and introduce our audiences to their distinct style, patterns and colour palette,” said Mitton in a release. “Many people from this side of Turtle Island have never visited the Northwest Territories so these collections will be a rare glimpse into the Indigenous cultures that hail from that part of the world.”
The Wisdom Circle is co-producing VIFW 2023 and is centring on the wisdom of the collective over the individual. The group consists of Indigenous leaders from the three host Nations and elsewhere across Turtle Island, and shares responsibilities to support the development and maintenance of a culturally safe, respectful, and responsible planning process and event that centers equity by honouring xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) protocols.
“VIFW brings our community together for a celebration of who we are today: our beauty, strength, and brilliance,” added Wisdom Circle member Ginger Gosnell-Myers in a statement. “It shows us that we can heal while creating a contemporary urban Indigenous identity through fashion.”
Highlights of VIFW 2023 include the opening night Red Dress Event, where guests are encouraged to wear red in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
Another popular event is the closing party, Supernatural Kiki Ball, hosted by Van Vogue Jam. The popular vogue ball features drag and catwalk battles for trophies, prizes, and glory.
VIFW will also host an artisan market with up to 50 vendors selling authentic, handcrafted goods. Shop for jewellery, clothing, beauty products, and more for your gift-giving needs.
“We are dedicated to celebrating Indigenous cultures, resilience, and creativity while embracing the teachings of our ancestors in a modern world,” said Mitton, who is of Plains Cree, French, and Scottish heritage. “VIFW’s growth and reach is increasing every year and we are so grateful for the support we receive from everyone.”
“Our audacious goal is to infuse the fashion industry with Indigenous values, and with every edition, we’re succeeding.”
When: November 20 to 25, 2023
Time: Various times
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre — 650 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Various prices, purchase online