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About

Our Mission

The mission of VIFW is to bring global recognition to Indigenous fashion designers and artisans from the Northwest coast and across Turtle Island. VIFW showcases the power and beauty of authentic Indigenous art and design by supporting talent development and organizing showcases throughout the year, culminating with Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week.

Our Philosophy

Fashion expresses identity, place and personal creativity. Humans adorn themselves with clothing, jewelry and talismans to explore symbolism, beauty, and belonging as our forms of living and presenting evolve. Behind the scenes, fashion expresses political, environmental and economic statements of land, exchange and ally-ship to its original people. Contemporary Indigenous fashion mixes the legacy of Indigenous artistry with modern day high regalia and street styles: it goes beyond surface beauty and highlights how worn identity can build connection with Indigenous values, wisdom, empowerment, and history.

Shows
warriors never die
ALL MY RELATIONS FOUNDER, INDIGENOUS FASHION WEEK PRODUCER

JOLEEN MITTON

Joleen

Joleen Mitton, East Vancouver born and bred, is no less proud of her Plains Cree, Blackfoot, Heritage. She began modeling at age 15 when a Vancouver talent scouts pulled her out of a crowd of people at the PNE. She feels extremely fortunate to have succeeded in her career as a model. She has a large portfolio created while traveling to exotic locations, working in a variety of mediums and meeting incredible people from across the globe.  

Joleen's passion for sport, art, fashion and design and social justice has lead her to focus on producing Aboriginal Fashion Shows and Basketball Tournaments across the city. Joleen has succeeded in raising awareness for local indigenous fashion and the Native Basketball community by hosting tournaments and producing fashion shows in Vancouver. She recognizes art and sport have a massive power in transforming and connecting people to their communities. She is dedicated to improving the lives of  people in her community, working intimately with a number of local non profits, putting her PR, marketing, social media and producing skills to good use.

Joleen works with the Aboriginal Urban Butterflies Day Camp-a program for children in foster care, and the Mentor Me program-which is for Native girl's aging out of foster care, and manages and plays on All My Relations women's basketball team.

VIFW History

Vancouver’s first International Indigenous Fashion Week(VIFW) launched in July 26-30 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre of Vancouver, BC and Museum of Anthropolgy (MOA).VIFW was an independent production in partnership with the City of Vancouver's The Drum is Calling Festival. We had 4,550 thousand people attend this event over the coase of 5 days. VIFW’s mission is to celebrate and make visible Indigenous arts, culture, community, land-based wisdom and global future, and to facilitate Indigenous-Ally relationships through collaboration, education and representation.

VIFW calls on all lovers of Indigenous art and design to buy directly from Indigenous artists and suppliers, and build pathways to Indigenous sustainability and enterprise by honouring and exchanging directly with source creators of this land. If you love Indigenous art, honour those who are gifted to create it, and who gift it by sharing it with the world, by being in direct relationship with them. Do not accept manufactured versions without reserch, and herald the wisdom of slow fashion. VIFW's long-term vision is for Indigenous-owned social enterprise that galvanizes and champions Indigenous art, design and identity locally and internationally.

warriors never die

 

Our Sponsors & Partners

Sponsors
access
Creative BC
skwachays
City of Vancouver
Victory
Native Education College

Pepel
Verve
Earnest
Fervid Business Solutions
We are proud to partner with the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Fervid Business Solutions
Fervid Business Solutions
Fervid Business Solutions

Our Causes

Independent Creation by All My Relations Entertainment

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week is an independent creation by All My Relations Entertainment, in partnership with Vancouver Native Housing, ACCESS, and Pacific Association of First Nations Women. VIFW's heart is our ongoing collaboration with the Mentor Me program by PAFNW, which empowers young Indigenous youth coming out of the foster care system to develop identity, relationships, vision and skills for their vibrant Indigenous futures.

VIFW is proud to work with the young youth from Mentor Me, as they learn to be proud in their own skin and walk in their full identities, as VIFW models and production crew this summer. VIFW focuses on healthy lifestyles and walking with confidence in their identity as future Indigenous leaders.

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week has been created primarily with volunteered time through a network of committed contributors both inside local Indigenous communities, and with Allies in deep relationship. Founder Joleen Mitton has cultivated VIFW's community of supporters for over 7 years.

 

Meet the Team


Joleen Mitton
ALL MY RELATIONS FOUNDER, INDIGENOUS FASHION WEEK PRODUCER

Joleen Mitton, East Vancouver born and bred, is no less proud of her Plains Cree, Blackfoot, Heritage. She began modeling at age 15 when a Vancouver talent scouts pulled her out of a crowd of people at the PNE. She feels extremely fortunate to have succeeded in her career as a model. She has a large portfolio created while traveling to exotic locations, working in a variety of mediums and meeting incredible people from across the globe.  

Joleen's passion for sport, art, fashion and design and social justice has lead her to focus on producing Aboriginal Fashion Shows and Basketball Tournaments across the city. Joleen has succeeded in raising awareness for local indigenous fashion and the Native Basketball community by hosting tournaments and producing fashion shows in Vancouver. She recognizes art and sport have a massive power in transforming and connecting people to their communities. She is dedicated to improving the lives of  people in her community, working intimately with a number of local non profits, putting her PR, marketing, social media and producing skills to good use.



CANDACE CURR
MARKET DIRECTOR

Candace Curr is an emerging First Nations painter, songwriter, filmmaker, Art dealer and musician. Hailing from the West Coast Ditidaht First Nation, she was born and raised on Vancouver Island. Having studied psychology and physical education at Vancouver Island University, Candace’s work involved her deeply in the heart of her community, working first as a youth counsellor at Tillicum Lelum Friendship Centre, and later as an Aboriginal Educational Assistant within the public school district in Nanaimo. As an independent contractor and artist, she animates youth educational workshops on topics from fitness and nutrition, total wellness, art, music, and many more. Complete workshop descriptions can be reviewed at diversitytalent.ca



MAYNARD JOHNNY JR.
CULTURAL ADVISOR

Maynard Johnny Jr., born April 4, 1973 in Campbell River, BC is of Coast Salish descent on his father’s side from Penelakut Island and Kwakwaka’wakw descent on his mother’s side from Cape Mudge on Quadra Island. At the early age of six Maynard began drawing portraits of his family and replicating comics. By the age of seventeen Maynard began to explore North Westcoast Native design and created his first painting on a seven foot by three foot door skin panel. While Maynard is primarily self-taught, he has also studied ancient Coast Salish spindle whorls, rattles and comb designs. Maynard also credits being influenced by other artists such as: Robert Davidson, Mark Henderson and the late Art Thompson. In 1994 Maynard released his first limited edition influenced by his Kwakwaka’wakw side, but by 1995 Maynard felt his Coast Salish connection and dedicated himself to the Coast Salish style. To date Maynard has remained true to mastering his Coast Salish background and has contributed to the Coast Salish renaissance. Maynard’s work includes logo and identity designs for a variety of organizations and companies. Additionally, his works can be found on movie sets (Say it Ain’t So) and television series (Grey’s Anatomy). Maynard has also had the honor of painting an eight foot by three foot Coho Salmon sculpture that had been donated to the new World Trade Centre in New York, NY following the 9/11 tragedy. Maynard’s work has also been highlighted on cedar chests gifted to the nominees, presenters and performers at the 2009 Juno Awards in Vancouver. Maynard’s work has been in numerous gallery shows and major Museum exhibitions, such as “S’abadeb”, translating as “The Gifts” highlighting Coast Salish works. Maynard’s design was used on the cover of the S’abadeb exhibitions catalogue. This exhibition was the first of its kind exhibiting ancient pieces with new works from todays’ Coast Salish artists. The S’abadeb exhibition started at the Seattle Art Museum and traveled to the Royal BC Museum. Maynard’s currently working in collaboration with the Kwikwetlem First Nation and the city of Coquitlam that will showcase three of Maynard’s designs. The designs represent the Kwikwetlem peoples’ pre-contact traditions and will be displayed on six window panels at the entrance and exit of the Evergreen Line at the Coquitlam Station. Maynard feels fortunate to have his work sent and recognized all over the world and will continue to share the beauty of the Coast Salish through graphic painting, wood, glass, large metal sculptures and precious metals.



Laura Cuthbert
Volunteer Coordinator

When Laura walks, she treads lightly on the unceded land of the Qayqayt. Her hometown is New Westminster and she often reflects that it has been a connecting place for thousands of years. She finds as much time as possible to feel for and listen to that connection. It has been best felt when organizing in her own community around sense of place and isolation, language preservation, heritage reform, and indigenous solidarity. That same feeling and listening has fuelled her organizing work in the disability sector at Kudoz and her studies in Anthropology. She’s learned to inform system design and community connections. Most of all she has learned that a great partnership is what makes a project real and possible. People power.



BARBARA PATRICK
MODEL COORDINATOR

Barbara Patrick who is Carrier/Dene, and belongs to the Stella’ten First Nation on her father’s side, and Dutch on her mother’s side. Born in Burns Lake, B.C., she grew up in the small northern town until she was “discovered” in a shopping mall at 14. At the tender age of 15, she was internationally modeling in Japan. Over the next decade, Barbara was travelling the world and became the face of many major campaigns. While living in New York City she took her first acting class. Acting intrigued her and she made the move to Vancouver BC, signing with a top acting agency. Now she is successfully working in the film and television industry. Barbara is thrilled to be a part of the Vancouver Indigenous Fashion team. She strongly believes that First Nation Talent needs to be represented in the fashion industry and VIFW is the perfect platform to showcase it.



Amber George
Lead Hair and Makeup

With 21 years of experience and a passion for education and artful hair design, Amber's background as a successful technical director, department head and salon mentor have led her to opening her own salon, Verve Hair Lounge. Having an unquenchable passion for the craft of hairdressing has advanced Amber's talent to include all aspects of the art of hair. She is a precision haircutter and barber creating perfect haircuts for your face shape and hair texture, and it is with this expertise that she shares as one of the countries top Haircutting Educators and Stage Artist on the National Portfolio of Artists for L'oreal Professionnel Canada. Amber is an expert colourist who provides clients with a customized colour experience to perfectly complement their complexion, haircut and personality. Her specialty in beautiful hand painted dimensional hair colour using techniques such as balayage, ecaille and other techniques are what keep her most in demand. Amber's work on TV, fashion shoots, hair and fashion shows has made her an award winning updo, styling and bridal hair expert.



Jocelyn Macdougall
Project Manager

Jocelyn Macdougall delights in convening interesting, meaningful, productive groups of people who are striving to make the world better. As an independent consultant in event strategy and facilitation, Jocelyn works to build brave containers, connecting people in dialogue. She values equity and inclusion as foundational, and believes that getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a necessary skill in today’s divided world. For Jocelyn, the arts are a price-of-admission component of a sane, healthy society, having a unique propensity to enable self and social reflection. She is also blessed to sing her heart out with seven other exceptional musicians in Vancouver’s hottest funk and Motown band, Queer As Funk.



XALAKIYA TYLER BAKER
SOCIAL MEDIA

Xalakiya Tyler Baker is an independent filmmaker, writer, and producer from the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw. Prior to venturing into the film industry, Xalakiya spent three and a half years excelling in the financial services industry where he worked his way from a nationally recognized bank to an internationally recognized investment firm. He is passionate about the Indigenous Fashion Industry and strongly believes in its power to bring Indigenous people together in solidarity. When not working within Vancouver’s Film Industry, Xalakiya enjoys spending time with his family on the Squamish Nations traditional territories.



SVEA POULSON
Design & Lighting

Born to the islands of Haida Gwaii, Svea Poulsen was raised to a family of artists, pranksters, and cultural mentors . She would be raised alongside the inland Haida trees, it’s remote culture and artistic wilderness, it’s unique love and mystical history, before growing into a woman on Vancouver Island. Her mother a true Haida soul, her father a distant mix of Danish and Scottish and other blood of Europe. In June 2018, something magical happened. Surrounded by family and the sounds of storied drums, she was given her Haida name, a patient tradition granted rarely in a Haida life. It was this name, HUUYEE JAAD - RAVEN WOMAN. Now she rests in the shadows of Vancouver’s sprouting towers, a city in rapid change, growing a career as a designer of light, design, photography, modern storytelling, and pranks.