Milan Fashion Week, one of the world’s most important fashion events, is a time when fashion designers and brands display their latest collections, and movie and music stars, fashionistas and influencers appear in the northern Italian city to gain visibility.
Now, for the first time ever, part of the scene includes a group of Indigenous designers from Canada — showcasing everything from Cree syllabics on a faux fur coat and futuristic beaded visors to diaphanous evening wear cascading in feather flowers.
The Indigenous show, part of the WHITE/Milan Fashion Week section for up-and-coming designers, makes a playful, profound and imaginative debut in la Citta’ della Moda, the City of Fashion.
“There’s a lot of special qualities, a lot of magic that goes into our clothing,” said Robyn McLeod, a member of the Deh Gáh Got’ı̨ę First Nation in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories whose work is inspired by Indigenous Futurisms.
“When I’m creating things, it feels exciting, weaving in traditional art and ways of being with technology, contemporary objects and textiles to make something unique. It’s like my excitement is felt by the people who wear my clothing.”
An elder taught McLeod to sew at the age of six, but she only dedicated herself to designing clothing full time five years ago, lacking the money and mentors to begin sooner.
Highlights of her collection are a glam rock embroidered caribou hide and white fur coat and