Despite this recent rise in popularity Walter Phoenix, AZ (2022) T-Shirt .These Indigenous designers’ practices, techniques and traditions remain rooted in history and connect their clothing to both the future and the past. Here are a few sustainable Indigenous practices to consider working into your own fashion footprint. Sustainable fashion practices by Indigenous designers aren’t only about who is making the clothing; they’re about where the material for clothing comes from. Haida/Cree designer Erin Brillon speaks of the traditional economy, where Indigenous people traded with those who were geographically closest first. Sourcing local cuts back on shipping and emissions, Metis artist Wenzdae Anaïs Dimaline explains, supporting community economic resurgence. Her shop, Culture Coven, opened in March 2022, works with brands by people of colour and the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Woods says it’s a “gift economy” because it relies on a broad participation of people who give and receive based on their abilities and needs. Payment is not exclusive to monetary funds; rather, it’s open to the exchange of gifts or services. It encourages shoppers to consider alternatives to buying new things and throwing away old ones while simultaneously building a strong community
Walter Phoenix, AZ (2022) T-Shirt, hoodie, sweater, longsleeve and ladies t-shirtMy father grew up on the land Walter Phoenix, AZ (2022) T-Shirt . He told me that time works differently for Indigenous people. There was never a need to rush; it was about patience and following the patterns of the animals: taking what you needed, not what you wanted, to preserve the land and its resources. Metis designer Anne Mulaire Dandeneau’s intention, shared by every Indigenous artist in the industry I spoke with, is to take care of the planet you’re walking on. This was the original form of slow fashion — one that focuses on the entire process. The art and practice of beading is another good example; you’re forced to slow down and take a breath. In the late 1800s, bison were almost extinct. The animals once relied upon by Indigenous people for subsistence were over-hunted by settlers because parts of their bodies were valuable. In stark contrast, Indigenous people used every part of the bison, leaving nothing to waste. This practice continues to be prioritized by Indigenous designers working today. Remnants from different seasons are repurposed. Victoria Kakuktinniq takes the offcuts of furs, skins and other materials and uses them for accessories like gloves, headbands, hats and purses. Just like in the 19th century, 100 per cent of the animal is used and trapping and harvesting are done ethically.
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