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There’s An Indigenous Fashion Week In Canada And OMG It Looks Incredible

A fashion week is a fashion industry event — pretty self-explanatory, we know. The event, as the name says it, lasts approximately one week. And it’s a platform where fashion designers, brands or “houses” display their latest collections in runway shows to buyers and the media.

These events influence trends for the current and upcoming seasons and they’re pretty notorious for being somewhat elitist, lacking in representation and inclusivity. Indigenous Fashion Week decided to take matters into their own hands and they’ve been hosting an event that presents the most progressive fashion, textiles and crafts by Indigenous artists.

At the intersection of art, fashion and culture, Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, features works by Native Canadian women.

IFW presents Indigenous-made fashion, textiles and craft, and it’s committed to exploring the connections between mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and traditional practice through presentations for broad audiences and industries.

IFW is bold, inclusive and accessible.

This fashion week challenges perceptions of, and celebrates Indigenous people and their culture with integrity, innovation and excellence. Founder and producer Joleen Mitton says the event is about far more than just celebrating Indigenous clothing designers.

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week kicked off with a red dress gala in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The red dress has become a symbol of resilience for many, and Mitton says that during IFW it will be featured to raise awareness about ongoing violence against Indigenous women. “That’s why the red dress event still exists,” she says. “I wish it didn’t have to, but it’s something that we keep on needing to talk about. If we can somehow tackle any issue with fashion, that’s what we’re going to do.”

The former model says she hopes the event can help create deeper connections between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Mitton has spent years mentoring Indigenous girls who grew up in foster care in Canada and never knew much about their culture. She’s recruited some of them to be the face of the fashion show, and helped them reclaim their First Nations heritage through fashion.

The event encourages Indigenous people to openly celebrate their culture which has a long history of being subjugated in Canada.

For decades, the Canadian government banned First Nations potlatch — a traditional ceremony that included gift-giving, feasting and dancing. Today, Indigenous Fashion Week in Vancouver brings traditional regalia —from traditional patterns of blankets to capes displaying family animal crests— to the runway for all to see.

Mitton wants this Fashion Week to inspire young people and help them be proud of their culture and traditions.

“Indigenous fashion isn’t just about looking good, it’s about reclaiming parts of who we are,” said Mandy Nahanee, a First Nations storyteller and educator. “We can show our young people this is how beautiful, and amazing, and talented we are, that you should be walking down runways and standing tall with your chin up, being proud of who you are. We need everyone in the world to know that we’re still here.”

Kat Von D Just Announced That She’s Totally Cut Ties With Her Makeup Line Effective Immediately

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Kat Von D Just Announced That She’s Totally Cut Ties With Her Makeup Line Effective Immediately

katvond / Instagram

Kat Von D has become a titan in the beauty industry due to her eponymous makeup line’s ultra long-wear highly pigmented products that also happen to be vegan and cruelty free. 

And although fans have long looked to the Queen of Ink because of her unconventional aesthetic and beauty expertise, the Von D recently announced she has decided to permanently step back from her successful business to focus on other projects as well as her new family.

View this post on Instagram

This past year has been one of great change for me. As many of you know, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, launched my vegan shoe line, and am now busy prepping to release my long awaited album in the Spring, followed by an international tour! As much as I wish I could balance all of this, on top of continuing my makeup line, it has become clear to me that I just can’t do everything at the maximum capacity. It's hard to admit this, since I’ve always said “You can do everything and anything.” But I don’t think admitting one's limits is a bad thing. With that said, I’ve decided to sell my shares of the brand, turning it over to Kendo, my partners for the past 11 years. This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I decided I wanted the makeup line to continue to thrive and grow, and I believe Kendo is primed to do just that. The transition for you, my loyal customers, will be seamless. In order to avoid any confusion with such a big change, Kat Von D Beauty will take a moment to rebrand itself, so you will start noticing the change from KatVonD Beauty to KvD Vegan Beauty. I'd like to thank my beloved fans+followers who supported my vision to create a brand that stood for compassion, true artistry, and challenged modern ideals of beauty — most of which I never could relate to. I was able to create a makeup line that made outsiders like me feel like we have a place in this “beauty” world, and gave myself and others the tools to express ourselves in our own unique way, whether it was embraced by the majority or not. And I just couldn’t have done any of this without you! Lastly, thank you for understanding+respecting my choice, as it was a difficult one to make, but one I am proud of regardless, and am confident that the team will continue the KvD legacy! Here’s to many, many more years of KvD Vegan Beauty!

A post shared by 𝐊𝐀𝐓 𝐕𝐎𝐍 𝐃 (@thekatvond) on

On Thursday via Instagram, Kat Von D announced the unexpected news that she was selling her shares in Kat Von D Beauty in order to focus on other projects.

@thekatvonD/Instagram

In the lengthy statement, Von D explained that 2019 had been a year of “great change” due to the birth of her baby boy as well as her expansion into music. She went on to explain that, while she tried to balance all of her projects to the best of her ability, she wasn’t able to fully contribute to each of her projects at “maximum capacity.” Therefore, she would be officially stepping down from Kat Von D Beauty.

“I’ve decided to sell my shares of the brand, turning it over to Kendo, my partners for the past 11 years,” she said. “This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I decided I wanted the makeup line to continue to thrive and grow, and I believe Kendo is primed to do just that.”

Von D went on to reveal that the beauty line would be re-branded as KvD Vegan Beauty in order to “avoid any confusion” for the brand’s customers.

@kvdveganbeauty/Instagram

Although the Sephora-based Kat Von D Beauty came out of the gate strong–even being named Sephora’s fastest-growing brand in 2018–the brand subsequently suffered from a highly-publicized dip in sales after Von D herself was embroiled in multiple controversies. Among the controversies was Von D declaring that she would not be vaccinating her child. Additionally, Von D had long been plagued by accusations of antisemitism throughout her career. 

The line will in all likelihood be in good hands with the LVMH beauty incubator Kendo, which also produces other popular brands like Fenty Beauty and Marc Jacobs. The former Kat Von D Beauty website has already been updated with the name change along with a statement from the CEO of Kendo. “I want to thank Kat for helping to change the beauty industry with us,” the statement reads. “We are fully positioned to continue the brand’s growth and development in both product and marketing…The same KENDO team that made history with KVD Vegan Beauty is ready to do it again.”

Since its inception, Von D has been extremely hands-on with her makeup line, involved in every aspect of the business from product inception to packaging.

@thekatvonD/Instagram 

“I name every shade, design every piece of packaging, help choose the colors and textures, the finishes and formulations,” she told HELLO! magazine in 2016. “There isn’t a font used on my packaging – I personally design and draw every letter on it. I even curate the content for our Instagram. I poured myself 100 per cent into this and I know that my customers appreciate that.”

And the tattoo artist and television personality obviously hit a chord with customers who felt connected to her through her products. In addition, Kat Von D’s products were truly high-quality at an affordable price-point. You could say that Von D was a trailblazer in the media personality-turned-businesswoman model that so many celebrities have since tried to replicate.

As for fans of Kat Von D, they took the news with a mixture of admiration, disappointment, and acceptance. 

Kat Von D has such a devoted fan base that many of them would follow her to the ends of the earth.

This person expressed undying devotion to Von D, no matter what she decides to do next:

Some Kat Von D supporters are ride-or-die.

This person thanked Kat for all she’s done for the beauty community.

Part of Kat Von D’s appeal is that she’s always marched to the beat of her own drum. For her, makeup was a means of artistic expression, not a means of blending in with everyone else.

This person shared a touching story about how Von D’s past generosity changed her life.

This kind of personal touch is hard to replicate once a brand becomes super corporate. 

This person was 100% supportive of Von D’s decision to step back.

It’s especially hard to juggle so many products as a new mom.

This person was just excited to hear Kat’s new album.

Not many people go from being a makeup mogul to being a rock-star. Talk about a pivot.

See The Stunning Portraits This Photographer Took Of People From The Most Endangered Indigenous Tribes In The World

Culture

See The Stunning Portraits This Photographer Took Of People From The Most Endangered Indigenous Tribes In The World

via @jimmy.nelson.official/Instagram

We’ve come to a moment in our culture where we’re reckoning with the mistakes our ancestors made in the past. The fallout from widely-accepted historical practices of misogyny, racism, and colonialism is persistent. It’s up to people in positions of power to use their privilege to better society. Colonialism, in particular, has an especially negative lingering global impact–largely because it has been so insidious. Only recently have colonists like Christopher Columbus been widely condemned for the violent and inhumane methods they employed to conquer and oppress indigenous peoples.

English photographer Jimmy Nelson has spent his entire career travelling the world and documenting the unique lifestyles of various indigenous tribes across the globe. In his book “Homage to Humanity”, he compiles his photographs in a vibrant and informative tome that shows its reader the commonalities among all of us.

via @jimmy.nelson.official/Instagram

Throughout his 30-year career, Nelson traveled to countless countries, including Peru, Ecuador, Thailand, Mexico, Sudan, China and Papua New Guinea.

While travelling, Nelson had the opportunity to take portrait photographs of people from indigenous ethnic tribes throughout Latinidad, like the Oaxaca, the Zapotecs, and the Chichimeca. The portraits are stunning for their detailed and tender depictions of various cultures in full ceremonial garb, the beauty of their unique traditions on proud display for the camera.

One photograph shows a woman from the Zapotec tribe in Mexico, her face painted as the “Lady of the Dead”. Another shows a young girl from the the last Inca community in Peru, the Q’eros tribe, wrapped in K’eperina blanket, staring defiantly at the camera. “[My job] is about being open to the world,” says Nelson. “With no judgement, no basis and nothing but love for other places and other human beings”.

via @jimmy.nelson.official/Instagram

Nelson’s life goal is to document the lives of indigenous tribes throughout the world before their ways are permanently eradicated through modernization.

Indigenous peoples are defined as “ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area,” before the land has been “settled, occupied or colonized” by other inhabitants. Indigenous tribes are rare because of how pervasive and all-consuming colonialism has been in recent history–particularly in North and South America. Philosophies like “manifest destiny” convinced (largely white) populations that it was their duty and right to settle lands that native populations had been living on for centuries.

According to worldbank.org, there are 370 million indigenous peoples living in over 90 countries throughout the world. And although they only make up 5 percent of the global population, their numbers account for 15 percent of those living in extreme poverty. Not only that, but due to the wealth of generational knowledge they have about how to tend to their lands, indigenous peoples are estimated to safeguard 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity.

Luckily, in 2007, the United Nations passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, a guide for its members on the collective rights of indigenous peoples

via @jimmy.nelson.official/Instagram

According to the United Nations, the UNDRIP “emphasizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations”. The declaration was a necessary step in righting the wrongs of the colonizing forces of the past who believed that Western and European ideals were superior to the ways of native populations.

In an interview with The New York Post, Nelson describes how spending time with people who are not as deeply exposed to the hustle and bustle of modernization has changed his outlook on life. “We’re always thinking about the future.” he said. “But [these tribes] very much live in the present and in the moment, it’s wonderful.”

via @jimmy.nelson.official/Instagram

Nelson hopes that his book of photographs will humanize the people of indigenous tribes so that his readers recognize that they are no different from the rest of the world.

Nelson’s photos are not only featured in a book, but also digitally in the form of his “Jimmy Nelson” app. Readers can use the app to scan over every image in his “Homage to Humanity” book, which will give the reader access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content that includes interviews and short videos. He hopes this feature will give viewers an insight into his process behind creating his artwork. You can see more of his artwork here.

As for the rest of the world it would be wise for everyone to take a page out of Nelson’s book when it comes to his views on humanity. The photographer is passionate about connecting with humans from all colors, creeds, and walks of life. “I think it’s amazing how close you can get to people without talking to them,” he says. “We speak different languages but that doesn’t seem to matter. We are all the same.” Never have there been truer words to live by.