About VIFW

VIFW: 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.

ALL MY RELATIONS FOUNDER,
INDIGENOUS FASHION WEEK PRODUCER:

JOLEEN MITTON

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
QueenElizabeth Theatre of Vancouver, BC and Museum
of Anthropolgy (MOA).VIFW was an
independentproduction in partnership with the City of
Vancouver’s The Drum is Calling Festival. We had
4,550thousand people attend this event over the coase
of 5 days. VIFW’s mission is to celebrate and makevisible
Indigenous arts, culture, community, land-based wisdom
and global future, and to facilitateIndigenous-Ally
relationships through collaboration, education and
representation.
 
VIFW calls on all lovers of Indigenous art and design to
buy directly from Indigenous artists andsuppliers, and
build pathways to Indigenous sustainability and
enterprise by honouring and exchangingdirectly with
source creators of this land. If you love Indigenous art,
honour those who are gifted tocreate it, and who gift it
by sharing it with the world, by being in direct
relationship with them. Do notaccept manufactured
versions without reserch, and herald the wisdom of slow
fashion. VIFW’slong-term vision is for Indigenous-owned
social enterprise that galvanizes and champions
Indigenousart, design and identity locally and
internationally.

Our Sponsors

Our Partners

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

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week - In the Press

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
MARKETING 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 workinvolved her deeply in
the heart of her community, working first as a youth counsellor at
TillicumLelum Friendship Centre, and later as an Aboriginal
Educational Assistant within the public schooldistrict in Nanaimo. As
an independent contractor and artist, she animates youth
educationalworkshops on topics from fitness and nutrition, total
wellness, art, music, and many more. Completeworkshop 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. Herhometown is New Westminster and she often reflects
that it has been aconnecting place for thousands of years. She finds
as much time as possibleto feel for and listen to that connection. It
has been best felt when organizingin her own community around
sense of place and isolation, languagepreservation, heritage reform,
and indigenous solidarity. That same feelingand listening has fuelled
her organizing work in the disability sector at Kudozand her studies in
Anthropology. She’s learned to inform system design andcommunity
connections. Most of all she has learned that a great partnership
iswhat makes a project real and possible. People power.
Barbara Patrick who is Carrier/Dene, and belongs to the Stella’ten
First Nation on herfather’s side, and Dutch on her mother’s side. Born
in Burns Lake, B.C., she grew up in thesmall northern town until she
was “discovered” in a shopping mall at 14. At the tender ageof 15,
she was internationally modeling in Japan. Over the next decade,
Barbara wastravelling the world and became the face of many major
campaigns. While living in NewYork City she took her first acting
class. Acting intrigued her and she made the move toVancouver BC,
signing with a top acting agency. Now she is successfully working in
the filmand television industry. Barbara is thrilled to be a part of the
Vancouver Indigenous Fashionteam. She strongly believes that First
Nation Talent needs to be represented in the fashionindustry and
VIFW is the perfect platform to showcase it.
With 21 years of experience and a passion for education and artful
hair design, Amber’s background as a successfultechnical director,
department head and salon mentor have led her to opening her own
salon, Verve Hair Lounge. Havingan 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 thisexpertise that she shares as one of the countries top
Haircutting Educators and Stage Artist on the National Portfolio
ofArtists for L’oreal Professionnel Canada. Amber is an expert
colourist who provides clients with a customized colourexperience to
perfectly complement their complexion, haircut and personality. Her
specialty in beautiful hand painteddimensional hair colour using
techniques such as balayage, ecaille and other techniques are what
keep her most indemand. Amber’s work on TV, fashion shoots, hair
and fashion shows has made her an award winning updo, styling
andbridal hair expert.
Jocelyn Macdougall delights in convening interesting, meaningful,
productive groups ofpeople who are striving to make the world
better.As an independent consultant in event strategy and facilitation,
Jocelyn works to buildbrave containers, connecting people in
dialogue. She values equity and inclusion asfoundational, and believes
that getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is anecessary skill
in today’s divided world. For Jocelyn, the arts are a
price-of-admissioncomponent of a sane, healthy society, having a
unique propensity to enable self andsocial reflection. She is also
blessed to sing her heart out with seven other exceptionalmusicians
in Vancouver’s hottest funk and Motown band, Queer As Funk.
Xalakiya Tyler Baker is an independent filmmaker, writer, and
producer from the Skwxwú7meshÚxwumixw. Prior to venturing into
the film industry, Xalakiya spent three and a half years excelling in
thefinancial services industry where he worked his way from a
nationally recognized bank to aninternationally recognized investment
firm. He is passionate about the Indigenous Fashion Industry
andstrongly believes in its power to bring Indigenous people together
in solidarity. When not working withinVancouver’s Film Industry,
Xalakiya enjoys spending time with his family on the Squamish
Nationstraditional territories.
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 andmystical history, before growing into a
woman on Vancouver Island. Her mother a true Haida soul, her father
a distantmix of Danish and Scottish and other blood of Europe. In
June 2018, something magical happened. Surrounded byfamily and
the sounds of storied drums, she was given her Haida name, a patient
tradition granted rarely in a Haidalife. 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.

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