June 16, 2024

Fashion Design

Fashion Designs that Enlighten the Soul.

Indigenous fashion designers in BC who you need to know

3 min read

These British Columbia-based Indigenous fashion designers use their clothing as art, sharing their culture, values, and history through fashion—from taking back traditional materials to quite literally saying “Land Back”. That’s what we call a fashion statement.

Sho Sho Esquiro

With roots in Kaska Dena, Cree, and Scottish heritage, Sho Sho Esquiro’s contemporary designs—dresses, jackets, and vests—speak to important conversations in Indigenous communities, putting an innovative spin on traditional materials. For example, her piece titled ASCENSION uses lynx paws, recycled silk, rabbit fur, and intricate beadwork to make a statement. Esquiro, who is based in New Westminster, has had her work showcased in museums and art galleries across Turtle Island.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CeaF-g1r6gW/?img_index=1

Dorothy Grant

For more than three decades, Dorothy Grant has trailblazed in Haida fashion design. The Tsawassen-based designer’s pieces—scarves, blouses, and dresses—are mostly crafted from luxurious silks adorned with Haida prints, using traditional motifs on contemporary silhouettes.

https://www.instagram.com/dorothy.grant.studio

Decolonial Clothing Co.

Founded by Dakota Bear and Casey Desjarlais, Burnaby-based clothing brand Decolonial Clothing Co. calls itself a movement. The company promotes Indigenous activism through fashion, with slogans emblazoned on streetwear like “Decolonize Everything”, “Land Back”, and “500 Years of Resistance”. The brand sells tees, hoodies, sweatsuits, and more.

https://www.instagram.com/p/C4b5GdPpQP8

Sugiit Lukxs Designs by Yolonda Skelton

Hailing from the Gitxsan First Nation in Northwestern BC, Yolonda Skelton creates works that showcase her cultural heritage with contemporary cuts through Sugiit Lukxs Designs. Skelton’s designs vary from traditional to modern; Traditional Regalia features Indigenous iconography, while her Ancestral Threads collection blends traditional knowledge in contemporary styles like pants, cropped shirts, and dresses—all pieces of which give a nod to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6AIJ_0FUvD

Alicia’s Designs by Alicia S

Boots, purses, and other accessories are made by this cutting-edge artist from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations who currently lives in Burnaby. Rich colours on unconventional patterns shake up tradition in these couture pieces. You’ll find traditional materials like leather, fringe, and copper paint, but their shape and form defy convention.

HSTRYMKRS

This streetwear brand by KC Hall and Charles Brown merges urban aesthetics with Indigenous culture, with printed jeans, tees, crewnecks and more featuring the duo’s street-style art. The designer team hails from Heiltsuk Nation, selling their wares online from Hailzaqv territory in Bella Bella.

House of Red Couture by JB the First Lady

Vancouver-based JB the First Lady’s designs are made for the red carpet—and they’re certainly show-stopping. Think: ribbons, crinoline, and silk in saturated, bright reds alongside traditional beadwork.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CeewNegPEwh

SECTION 35

Founded in 2014, SECTION 35 is an Indigenous-owned streetwear brand from Vancouver that reclaims Indigenous style in tees, hoodies, basketball jerseys, and more. According to owner Justin Jacob Louis, he’d had enough of seeing Indigenous culture appropriated in the fashion industry and decided to show the world he could do it himself.

Himikalas Pam Baker

As far a design goes, Vancouver-area Pam Baker is a multi-hyphenate. The Squamish/Kwakiutl/Tlingit/Haida designer is the owner of fashion lines Touch of Culture, TOC Legends Designs, and Copperknot Jewelry. Her designs boast modern cuts—think wrap dresses, asymmetrical tops, and flowing scarves—all made with innovative textile prints that hint at her own ancestry. The Salish Elements2 Vivienne Scarf in knit chiffon, for example, contains repeating patterns of ovoids and whale fins.

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