An Indigenous fashion designer from Alberta is preparing to showcase culturally inspired clothing designs on an international stage, and she’s inviting inspiring and influential Indigenous people from across Canada to model her creations.
Stephanie Crowchild makes custom coats using Pendleton blankets, Hudson’s Bay spotted blankets and other items, in homage to her heritage as a woman of the Tsuu t’ina nation.
Stephanie Crowchild sews a custom piece for Stephanie Eagletail Designs. She is creating a custom clothing lineup to show on a New York runway in September and told CTV News she wanted to represent all 11 Treaty Territories on Turtle Island.
To that end, Crowchild is bringing along about 20 models, including three from First Nations in northeastern Ontario – fellow fashion designer Scott Wabano, model Emma Morrison and social media influencer Nathalie Restoule.
They are all people who Crowchild said are making positive impacts in their communities and who she felt deserved a bigger platform.
“They inspire me,” she said.
“For me, I see them as good role models within their communities and for my children as well.”
To see more of Crowchild’s designs and her preparations for fashion week, visit the Stephanie Eagletail Designs Facebook page to follow them on TikTok.
These are the stories behind the three people representing the Ninth Treaty at New York Fashion Week:
Profile of Miss World Canada contestant Emma Morrison from Chapleau Cree First Nation in northern Ontario. (Pageant Group Canada)
Emma Morisson is a proud 22-year-old Mushkegowuk woman from Chapleau Cree First Nation, 200 kilometers west of Timmins.
After being invited to compete at Miss Northern Ontario and winning the pageant in 2017, Morrison went on to become the first Indigenous woman to win Miss Teenage Canada later that year and more recently the first Indigenous woman to win the Miss World Canada pageant then 2022. .
Morrison now travels the country, speaking to Indigenous youth about the importance of following their passions and that coming from a small community shouldn’t hold them back.
“Regardless of your limitations and your surroundings, you can still achieve great things,” she said in an interview at a gathering of Indigenous youth in Timmins.
“I was taught that … it’s about opening that door for others to come through. Being that representation for indigenous peoples, in areas where representation was lacking.”
Morrison was drawn to Crowchild’s work because of the stories behind her art and how it honors her unique culture.
Morrison told CTV News she’s excited to join the rest of the list of influential Indigenous people Crowchild has assembled.
One of the other members of the list is no stranger to Morrison, Ashley Collingbull, who was the first Canadian and Indigenous woman to win the Miss Universe pageant in 2015 and mentored Morrison while competing for Miss Canada.
“I’m excited to rejoin this event where we’re celebrating Indigenous success,” she said.
For more information on Morrison’s youth work and pageant success, follow her on Instagram.
Nathalie Restoule is an Indigenous advocate and social media influencer from Dokis First Nation, who was recently crowned as Canada’s Regional Lady. (Supplied)Restoule is an Anishinaabe Kwe from Dokis First Nation is the newly crowned 2022 Regional Miss Canada.
Crowchild said Restoule has a passion and commitment to revitalizing Indigenous culture and has been an advocate for Indigenous issues.
Restoule has traveled to many communities to share valuable knowledge and stories.
Crowchild told Restoule that her life’s purpose is to educate and inspire others within her community and nation about healthy relationships; towards yourself and the rest of creation.
Even with 100k followers on social media, Restoule strives to create a safe space to share and educate on indigenous perspectives and domestic violence against women; having overcome these issues in her personal life.
Restoule has said on social media that her inner strength comes from ancestral resilience and she wants to share that strength with everyone who needs it.
“Never apologize for how deeply you feel. How deeply you love … When you have a heart of gold and your intentions are pure – you don’t lose anyone, people get lost,” said Restoule, in an Instagram post.
To see her work in creating a safe online space, follow her on TikTok.
Scott Wabano, a fashion designer with two souls, born in the Cree Nation of Waskaganish, in the Eeyou Istchee region of northern Quebec and raised in the Moose Factory. (Supplied)A two-spirit fashion designer born in the Cree Nation of Waskaganish in the Eeyou Istchee region of northern Quebec and raised in Moose Factory, Scott Wabano will take the world stage at both New York Fashion Weeks this year.
In February, he will take to his New York Fashion Week runway to show clothing from his sustainable and inclusive 2SLGBTQ+ clothing brand WABANO, with a team of six models.
Wabano, who uses the pronouns he and they interchangeably, will then model for Crowchild in September.
Built around ceremonies, Pow Wows and traditional gatherings, Wabano said he would design regalia, ceremonial clothing, as well as Pow Wow and hunting gear.
They often took inspiration from their grandparents who created handicrafts as well as other cultural designs.
“It was just a childhood full of design,” said Wabano, during an interview at a gathering of Indigenous youth in Timmins.
“Fashion has just become intertwined with my culture and the way I grew up.”
Now his goal is to bring indigenous fashion into the spotlight, which he has succeeded in so far, being named the Globe and Mail’s Best Dressed in 2022.
They said authentic and honest representation of Indigenous people has been excluded in the entertainment and fashion industries.
As someone who has dealt with the degenerate impacts of the residential school system and the disadvantages of living in a remote community, they feel it is critical for Indigenous youth to see themselves reflected in wider society.
“I really believe that representation is a form of harm reduction,” Wabano said.
“When young people see Indigenous people thriving and also doing well in their professional careers, it really gives them the motivation and inspiration to bring that into their lives.”
He said the indigenous fashion community is tight-knit because of how few are able to find success in the industry
They all share their stories, their cultures and their artwork, often seeing themselves as collaborators rather than competitors.
“We’re here to help each other, lift each other up, support each other’s work and … be proud of where we come from,” he said.
That’s how I connected with Stephanie Crowchild, being a longtime follower of her art and drawing inspiration from her work.
Wabano said he especially enjoys her work teaching communities around the country about the importance of indigenous fashion and making it sustainably, which also drives his work.
Crowchild’s desire to be part of a community of indigenous creators and give each other platforms is what Wabano said makes this year’s New York fashion shows even more meaningful.
He said her inclusion of various First Nations, Metis and Intuit communities contributes to the suppression of the notion of pan-Indigenousness, meaning a lack of recognition of different communities and cultures, in favor of a simpler narrative. that all indigenous people are the same.
“We’re finally getting this platform where we can showcase our beautiful stories, our beautiful fashion, our beautiful people,” Wabano said.
“It just really shows the beauty and diversity that is indigenous.”
To see more of Wabano’s collection as they prepare for their fashion week debut, follow them on Instagram.
Looking forward to New York Fashion Week
Crowchild said everyone she invited to New York had a vision of representing Indigenous people and promoting the unique cultures of First Nations on Turtle Island.
She told CTV News that she hopes it will be an opportunity for everyone to learn about different communities and share knowledge and lessons.
“Each model will represent themselves and where they come from,” Crowchild said.
“They’re all going to represent (their) Treaty Territory and I think it’s going to be really amazing to see all the different nations that I’m going to bring together.”
Crowchild said her goal is to not only have the industry recognize the importance of Indigenous fashion, but also the diversity of culture and creativity within Indigenous communities.