Canada has a lot to be proud of when it comes to liberating historically disenfranchised people. From the government advancing the rights of the LGBTW community to our cities welcoming refugees with open arms, Canada continues to right the wrongs of its nation’s founders. That said, there are still several minority groups in Canada that have not received the justice that they deserve. Among these groups are the Canadian First Nations people.
Leading Fashion Influencers always gives it up for strong WOC who aren’t afraid to lean in and take what’s theirs. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of First Nations lady bosses that are redefining indigenous culture, style, and fashion for the digital age. Read on to learn more about these inspiring women.
Catherine Blackburn is a bead artist, painter, and jeweler whose work embraces complexities of her family’s ancestral identity, memories, and history. Combining contemporary concepts with elements of traditional Dene culture, Blackburn melds traditional indigenous art forms with contemporary media to create uniquely haunting and effective works. This First Nations designer’s work was recently featured during Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto in 2019.
Brit Ellis is a bead artist of Haudenosaunee ancestry. She blends her professional background as a social worker with her life experiences to influence her intricate beadwork. She creates a product that sparks conversation by meshing traditional and modern influences. Her work is constantly featured on various blogs and across social media platforms. Her goal is to create intricate beaded pieces that speak to the complex and diverse backgrounds of Canada’s vibrant First Nations communities. To further connect Canada’s general population with her people and culture, Brit runs beading workshops at exceedingly reasonable prices. Be sure to show this amazing woman some love on Instagram today!
After graduating with honours in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto, Lesley Hampton certainly has the credentials necessary to run her incredible brand. Through her label – which is appropriately named Lesley Hampton – she leverages her natural ability to create pieces in honour of her indigenous roots. This outstanding collection’s intricate beadwork and indigenous patterning has attracted attention from Canada’s fashion elite. Not only was her work recognized by The Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards Committee, but she’s also featured in 2019 Toronto’s Indigenous Fashion Week. The sky is the limit for this gorgeous mixed-race fashionista.
Mohawk Mocs isn’t your ordinary moccasin company. Their shoes come in various styles and colours, and honour indigenous traditions without straying from modern aesthetics. You can buy an adorable pair of pink moccasins or stick with a more traditional pair complete with complex beading and impressive floral patterns. Melanie and Nancy Squire have found the perfect way to culminate iconic first nation apparel with today’s top styles.