January 30, 2023

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Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto Announces New Name and Brand

Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto Announces New Name and Brand

Photo by: Nadya Kwandibens / Artist: Celeste Pedri-Spade

The biennial event formerly known as Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto has relaunched its brand as Indigenous Fashion Arts (IFA), a newly incorporated non-profit organization. Under the new moniker, IFA will continue to foster the deep connections between mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and traditional practice. This exciting change recognizes IFA’s robust programming and initiatives beyond the biennial festival that focuses on creation, development and advocacy.

The organization will present its flagship event, the four-day IFA Festival, as a live and online program at Harbourfront Centre June 9-12, 2022. The festival will feature runway presentations, a curated marketplace, outdoor programming, hands-on workshops and networking events, and the second Fashioning Resurgence Symposium in partnership with Fashion at the Creative School.

“Indigenous fashion profoundly influences Canadian and global fashion and drives necessary and exciting systemic change,” says Executive & Artistic Director Sage Paul. “Harnessing Indigenous expression and ways of doing is vital to our movement in fashion and our new name reflects the broader context of the work we are doing.”

From boundary-breaking presentations to sold-out shows and a media reach in the millions (Source: CISION), IFA has made remarkable strides as an artist collective since 2017. After the 2020 digital festival, Christian Allaire (Vogue Magazine) said the IFA Festival “is currently one of the biggest showcases of Indigenous design in North America.” Indigenous governance practices at IFA have significantly contributed to that growth.

IFA prioritizes Indigenous governance and leadership. Since our inception, we have worked with cultural leader Grandma Pauline Shirt to guide the direction of our practices. Since late 2020, IFA’s inaugural Board of Directors has provided guidance on governance and includes Jason Ryle (Saultaux), Jean Marshall (Anishinaabe) and Riley Kucheran (Anishinaabe). The Board of Directors brings tremendous experience to advancing the mission of IFA in its next phase of growth.

The IFA team is growing and brings Indigenous community-based values to all their work. Executive & Artistic Director Sage Paul oversees strategy, operations and programming with Development Consultant Kerry Swanson’s guidance and fundraising. Long-time IFA team member Candace Scott-Moore moves into the Producer role to lead Festival production. IFA welcomes a new communications team led by Community Access Director Jessica Lea Fleming and Digital Strategy Director Savanna Chiblow. The leadership team strives to foster the next generation of leaders through collaborative efforts for emerging team members and the artists we serve.

IFA recognizes the legacy of the IFWTO Collective co-founders, Sage Paul, Kerry Swanson and Heather Haynes. The foundations laid from the beginning have equipped IFA to expand its programming and continue to support Indigenous artists and designers with a practice in fashion, craft and textiles.

The 2022 festival features over 100 Indigenous artists and designers from Canada with international guests. That achievement is a testament to the necessity of Indigenous-led organizations. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements and ticket sales for the highly anticipated third biennial Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival.

For more information about Indigenous Fashion Arts, please visit: indigenousfashionarts.com.

About Indigenous Fashion Arts

Indigenous Fashion Arts showcases and sustains Indigenous practices in fashion, craft and textiles through designer-focused initiatives, public engagement and sector innovation. Our programming illuminates and celebrates Indigenous people and our cultures.

IFA’s primary activity is the biennial Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival, featuring runway shows, a marketplace, panels series, an art exhibition, hands-on workshops, digital and on-demand programming and industry access. IFA is committed to nurturing the deep connections between mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and traditional practice with amplified visibility of and leadership by Indigenous women-identifying people.

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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