Warren Steven Scott sparked a discussion about cultural appropriation with his geometric jewelry

Warren Steven Scott.

Mai Truong

Some of his clients just assume that Warren Steven Scott is drawn to retro design. Her eye-catching laser-cut jewelry has a modern appeal, after all. In fact, inspiration was drawn from the abundant past of Indigenous art, particularly the forms found in the designs of the Pacific Northwest Coast Salish. “They deal with a lot of positive and negative spaces, shapes, lines and repetitions,” says Scott, who is a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation.

A graduate of Ryerson University, Scott honed his skills working for designer Jeremy Laing and brand Comrags before being acclaimed for a runway collection showcased at the 2018 Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. Now part of Scott’s job is to be an advocate and ambassador for the Aboriginal community; in particular, it educates its audience on cultural appropriation, which still exists in many corners of the fashion world.

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After launching his e-commerce business last fall, Scott began receiving orders, especially from the Indigenous community, who discovered and marketed his products on social media. He also received messages asking if non-native customers could wear them. “There is definitely a fear,” he says. Scott’s Instagram post explained that if you buy products from an Indigenous designer, you are supporting their livelihood and community. “A message to non-natives. It is not cultural appropriation to wear jewelry designed by an indigenous person, ”he wrote. “My jewelry can be worn by anyone and is designed for everyone. ” – Odessa Paloma Parker

For more information visit warrenstevenscott.com.

Sarah Power has created a vibrant space for emerging Canadian designers to show and sell

In 2013, Sarah Power was shopping in a Berlin boutique when a German designer came to renew her jewelry. The two started chatting and Power bought one of the creator’s pieces. “It was such a cool experience.” Power says. “I wanted to support her, and that’s when I thought, ‘I have to do this.'”

The chance encounter sparked an idea that had been in Power’s mind since 2007, when she met a handful of Canadian designers at the now-defunct Clothing Show in Toronto. In 2014, Powers quit her teaching job in Hamilton and her pop-up inland market was born to bring Canadian designers face to face with buyers. “[Inland is] a place where consumers can learn the stories of their clothes, ”she says. The initial show featured 80 labels and attracted 1,000 buyers. “It was immediately obvious that this type of platform was needed in the industry, that there weren’t enough opportunities for Canadian designers to showcase their work,” she says. The market will host its 10th edition in Toronto in May.

“When I started Inland, a number of people told me – including designers – that no one cares if something is made in Canada,” she says. But over the past four years, she’s seen that story change. “I think brands are much more confident and they understand that transparency inspires loyalty. Power also has growth in mind. Guelph, London and Muskoka are some of the new locations she is considering in Ontario, and a digital platform could help attract a global audience. “I want to continue in any way I can to increase the visibility and accessibility of Canadian design,” she said. – Maryam Siddiqi

For more information visit madeinland.ca.

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Tomi Gbeleyi turned a beauty blind spot into a thriving cosmetics community

Tomi Gbeleyi.

Mai Truong / May Truong

When Tomi Gbeleyi attended her first fashion show, she arrived excited and ready to go. Not everyone behind the scenes was so prepared. “When I started doing my hair and makeup, there was this silence in the room. The makeup artist was scrambling to find products, the hairdresser fumbled with my curls, ”she says. It was 2014, and the beauty team weren’t equipped to work on Gbeleyi, the show’s only black model. “At that point, I almost felt like a burden on everyone. “

For people of color, finding the right cosmetic shades is an ongoing challenge. To compensate, many makeup artists are developing tricks like mixing custom shades, which Gbeleyi calls “make it work.” “I just thought that in order to be good at makeup for dark skin, you had to be good at hacking what’s out there,” she says. Gbeleyi decided to train in applying professional makeup by watching YouTube tutorials created by women with similar skin tones. “I was suddenly exposed to this huge community of women exchanging information online,” she says. Inspired by the inclusive content she has seen, Gbeleyi created an Instagram account, Makeup for Melanin Girls, which now has 169,000 followers.

In 2017, Gbeleyi made the leap into product development. Doing the preparatory work at cosmetic trade shows and working in partnership with a laboratory, she has developed a range of cosmetic products for people with darker skin. With nine SKUs (inventory management units) in the eye and lip categories, Gbeleyi says she is focused on developing a full range of offerings, including skin care, so that tips beauty can finally become a thing of the past. “We’re throwing ‘make it work’ out the window,” she says. – Caitlin Agnew

For more information visit makeupformelaningirls.com.


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