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Indigenous Fashion Arts Year In Review 2023

This year has been full of growth and new connections for IFA. From the launch of the IFA Trade Program, which sent a delegation of six designers to WHITE Milano, to the announcement of the 2024 IFA Festival Official Runway and Marketplace Selections, to the addition of new IFA team and Board members – 2023 has been full of activity.

As we look ahead to 2024, including the biennial IFA Festival in May, we are taking this moment to reflect on the past year. From all of us at IFA, we wish you all a very Happy Solstice and hope you have ample opportunities to gather, connect and share stories from this past year.

IFA welcomes new Board members

L to R Jennifer Harper, Ken Montour, Lori Mishibinijima, Mandee McDonald

IFA continues to grow, and we are pleased to introduce you to our newest Board Members.

Jennifer Harper – Founder and CEO of Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics INC.
Ken Montour – Director of Sponsorship & Corporate Partnerships for Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)
Lori Mishibinijima – Program Manager & Special Advisor, Indigenous & Reconciliation Initiatives at York University.
Mandee McDonald – Co-founder and Managing Director for Dene Nahjo.

These incredible individuals will join our existing Board Members Jason Ryle, Jean Marshall, and Riley Kucheran as we continue efforts to impact Indigenous Communities and the broader arts and fashion industries, positively.

IFA Pop-Up at ROM Boutique Now Open in Toronto

In November, an Indigenous Fashion Arts Pop-Up Shop opened at ROM Boutique in Toronto. The pop-up shop features a selection of fashion, accessories and home accents and is part of the IFA Trade Program, which aims to support Indigenous designers by increasing brand awareness and improving market placement.

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Featuring pieces from the following designers:

Blu Hummingbird
Niio Perkins Designs
Indigo Arrows
Lesley Hampton
Assinewe Jewelry
Born in the North
MDW Jewelry
Beadz by Dre
Mobilize Waskawewin

The Indigenous Fashion Arts Pop-Up at ROM Boutique runs November 14, 2023 – February 9, 2024. ROM Boutique is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.

Indigenous fashion is hot! We recommend that you head over to ROM Boutique sooner rather than later to get your hands on these coveted pieces before they’re gone!

You can also shop online at rom.on.ca. Visit the IFA Pop-up page on our website to learn more about the featured designers!

IFA presents at Original, Mexico

In October, IFA participated in the third edition of Original – a permanent cultural movement organized by the Mexican government, dedicated to creating awareness about Indigenous fashion, craft and textiles, with a focus on the value of Indigenous-made work and collective property rights.

The event included a marketplace that featured 1000 Indigenous exhibitors, along with fashion shows and a series of panel discussions and presentations.

IFA’s participation is part of the growing IFA Trade Program, creating global and market development opportunities for Indigenous designers. Through this initiative, designers gain access to a global and Indigenous-specific market, which contributes to traditional nation-to-nation trade practices, market growth and brand awareness.

Two members of the 2024 cohort were represented at Original: Robyn McLeod, and program mentee, Dorathy Wright (Willow Crescent Quilting).

IFA Designers Receive Standing Ovation at the Mayor’s Evening for the Arts in Toronto

On November 13th, IFA was invited by the Toronto Arts Foundation to present a sneak preview of the 2024 IFA Festival Runway at the Mayor’s Evening for the Arts in Toronto.

Four 2024 IFA Festival designers – Lesley Hampton, Haus of Dumont, R S Gustafson and Sho Sho Esquiro – delighted attendees with their runway looks, including intricate beadwork and applique, a moving use of material and couture techniques, and elegant silhouettes. The live, original soundtrack by cellist Cris Derksen accompanied the models who showcased ten select looks on a multi-platform stage.

Thank you to the designers, hair and makeup artists, models and our IFA team members for making this a memorable evening. Mahsi cho to the Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council for including us!

Photos by Kat Rizza Photography.

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