VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week kicks off Monday night with a red dress gala in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Founder and producer Joleen Mitton says the opening night gala will set the tone for an event that is about far more than just celebrating Indigenous clothing designers.
The red dress has become a symbol of resilience for many, and Mitton says it will appear on the catwalk and among audience members to raise awareness about ongoing violence against Indigenous women.
“That’s why the red dress event still exists,” she says. “I wish it didn’t have to, but it’s something that we keep on needing to talk about. If we can somehow tackle any issue with fashion, that’s what we’re going to do.”
The former model says she hopes the event can also foster a deeper understanding between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and help emerging businesses establish themselves.
Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week is also unique for mentoring and offering skills training to Indigenous youth who make up the bulk of staff and fashion models.
Mitton says she wants to inspire young people and help them be proud of their culture and traditions.
It runs Nov. 18 to 21 at the Orpheum Theatre and Queen Elizabeth Theatre.