Best Indigenous Fashion Designers in Toronto [2022]

Indigenous fashion designers in Toronto are some of the most creative and talented individuals around! Not only do they create unique clothing that celebrates Indigenous culture, but their designs tend to be both stylish and comfortable. Many indigenous fashion designers use traditional materials like fabrics and lace handmade by women in remote communities across North America. Their collections are often inspired by nature or specific stories from Aboriginal history, making them a true reflection of Canada’s diverse cultural landscape. 

Whether you’re looking for a special outfit for an event or want to incorporate some indigenous style into your everyday wardrobe, these talented Indigenous fashion designers will be able to provide you with what you need! 

We chose these best indigenous fashion designers in Toronto based on their reputation for quality design, customer service excellence, and their dedication to creating innovative Canadian-made apparel.

Summary

How is indigenous fashion design different?

Indigenous fashion design is unique in that it often incorporates traditional elements such as beadwork, quillwork, and leatherworking into modern designs. Indigenous people have also been at the forefront of the eco-friendly fashion movement, using sustainable materials and practices to create their clothing.

Best indigenous fashion designers in Toronto

1. Mobilize

Mobilize indigenous fashion designer provides unique and sustainable fashion options for Indigenous people in Canada. He wants to create stylish clothes that represent authentic culture while also being environmentally friendly and affordable. All of the products offered by Mobilize are handmade with natural dyes and materials, which helps ensure ethical production practices. 

Additionally, the designs are inspired by traditional Cree attire as well as contemporary trends making them both modernized yet timelessly authentic. Whether you’re looking for something special to wear at an event or simply want some quality apparel that reflects your cultural heritage like a jacket or hoodie, Mobilize’s collections have everything you need!

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Customer Review Highlight:

“At this shop everyone learns how to use the press!!! The other day we got to teach our good friend from Mobilize how we screen print all their designs. It's a lot harder than it looks, better leave it to the professionals. Great designs and experience”

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2. Resist Clothing

Resist Clothing Company is an urbanized native clothing brand that focuses on creating premium streetwear. The company’s mission is to ignite change and build a brand that elevates Indigenous messages, inspires allyship, and demonstrates Indigenous resilience. In order to achieve this goal, the company works tirelessly to provide authentic indigenous apparel for both men and women of all sizes. 

You can choose from a variety of tops including T-shirts, long sleeves, tank tops, etc as well as hoodies, hats and bags. Their suppliers manufacture the blank clothing garments ethically and sustainably, and they do not source from sweatshops; everyone involved from start to finish was paid a fair wage. Through their product offerings as well as their social media platforms, they aim to connect with the community and create a positive impact in the world. 

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Customer Review Highlight:

“The artwork is powerful and beautifully done! The shirt is comfortable and good quality. Service was quick and fantastic. I am so glad that I chose Resist clothing to finally get my first official Orange Day shirt to Wear on September 30th and beyond.”

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3. Chippewar

Jay creates art under the name Chippewar which represents the hostile relationship that Canada’s native peoples have with the government of the land they have resided in since their creation. Chippewar is also a reminder of the importance of the traditional warrior role that exists in Indigenous cultures across North America that survives into the present day. 

In addition to painting, Jay is a clothing designer, spending spring through fall on powwow trail showcasing his art and apparel. His prints on hoodies and t-shirts are really creative and cool. Like the one named Teenage Mutant Anishinaabe Turtles with ninja turtle poster painted in idigenous way. Check out their selection of graphic T-shirts, sweatshirts, raglans, tank tops and hoodies designed by First Nations Toronto based artist Jay Soule.

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Customer Review Highlight:

“Super friendly and amazing products! The best place for cool and wearable contemporary indigenous art Jay is a really genuine guy and fantastic artist.”

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4. SheNative

SheNative is a lifestyle brand that was founded by Indigenous women. The company specializes in making leather bags, accessories and sustainable apparel. In addition to this, the store also offers a wide range of other products such as candles and soaps. All of these products are made with natural ingredients and using traditional techniques. 

This ensures that the final product is high quality yet environmentally friendly too! Furthermore, SheNative’s mission is to empower Indigenous women through their work as fashion designers and entrepreneurs. Through creating unique items inspired by their culture and heritage, they aim to give back something valuable to society – pride in themselves and their community.

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Customer Review Highlight:

“Amazing brand that supports an amazing cause and other local entrepreneurs. Go check out their store in Midtown Plaza. You won’t be disappointed.”

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5. Section 35

SECTION 35 is a streetwear brand based on the unceded territories of the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. The label was founded in 2016 by Indigenous artist Justin Louis. He began creating apparel as a means of reclaiming traditional clothing styles from their ancestors while also voicing resistance against colonizer culture through fashion. His goal is to create pieces that are not only comfortable but also stylish and unique, emphasizing cultural pride within indigenous communities worldwide.

He’s best known for his sporty bomber coats, baseball jerseys, and graphic tees printed with slogans such as “LANDBACK.” His pieces are popular among stylish individuals who want to express their unique personality through fashion. In addition to clothing items, he also produces accessories such as wallets and keychains. All of his products are made from high-quality materials that ensure durability and longevity.

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Customer Review Highlight:

“Purchased a hoodie and t-shirt from them recently. I love the fit and quality. Super cool streetwear clothing and I couldn’t recommend more!”

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6. CoutuKitsch

COUTUKITSCH is a unique Livery Shop that specializes in handcrafted jewelry. The collection is conceptualized, curated, and pieced together by hand by a small team in Calgary led by founder and creative director Dorian Kitsch. Inspired by Dorian Kitsch’s personal desire for pieces that are accessible and easy to wear, the store offers an extensive range of high quality, long wearing plated metals and delicate details. 

High quality, long wearing plated metals come together with delicate details in a way that is effortless yet chic. With its focus on modern fashion accessories, COUTUKITSCH produces jewelry perfect for the contemporary woman. 

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Customer Review Highlight:

“I just recently purchased two necklaces and a hair clip from CoutuKitsch and I'm in love! I have been wearing them everyday. They are of quality items, not rusting or anything. I would definitely recommend and I will be buying more in the future!”

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7. Biulu Artisan Boutique

Over half a decade ago, Lydia made the decision to take her beading online to see what the demand was. With the help of her friend- business partner, she started with typical Wixarika essentials – dainty flower earrings, peyote earrings, scorpion bracelets etc. 

Her customers loved the beaded jewelry but they wanted something that they could relate to. Being online and international, these requests came in from many cultures and demographics and they all wanted something from this amazing jewelry store. 

That’s why they specialize in designing both classic as well as trendy fashion jewelry pieces that are perfect for everyday wear or special occasions in indeginous style! Their bright and vibrant flower earrings are super fun and lightweight! They’re a good size and will provide a lovely splash of color to any outfit, not to mention that this jewelry is made using a traditional freehand method. So if you want to connect to your indigenous heritage more, don’t hesitate to visit this online store. 

Customer Review Highlight:

“I received these yesterday in the mail and they are so beautiful. Just gorgeous. Amazing craftsmanship! I feel lovely while wearing it.”

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8. Hinaani Design

Hinaani Design is a unique store that specializes in designing and creating items that reflect the Arctic landscape and Inuit culture. The store was founded by a collective of artists/designers/creators from the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, which is located in the extreme north of Canada. Here they plan, design, and create products using traditional art techniques and materials such as caribou fur coats ornaments. 

Hinaani designs clothing like shirts, t-shirts and jackets as well as accessories like bags or scarves that promote Inuit culture, language, and lifestyle to foster positive self-esteem and pride in Inuit. All items are made with utmost attention to detail so as to capture the natural beauty of northern Canadian ecosystems while incorporating traditional Inuit designs into modern fashion trends. Whether you’re looking for an exquisite piece of jewelry or a stylish coat liner, Hinaani Design has something special for you!

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Customer Review Highlight:

“Beautiful, useful designs that have Inuit cultural flair. I’m always complimented on my clothing that I ordered from Hinaani Design.”

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FAQs

Indigenous fashion is important because it represents the history and culture of a certain community. It can also be very beautiful, often incorporating traditional techniques such as quilting or beadwork.
Indigenous people in North America generally wear clothing made from animal skins, such as buckskin. They may also dress in feather headdresses or cloth skirts and blouses.

The colors used in Indigenous fabrics often have significant meaning and are chosen to represent various aspects of the natural world. 

Textiles and colors are used to represent different rituals in the country. There are specific patterns used for traditional dances for courtship, healing, war, harvest, and protection. Indigenous tribes also associate colors with different events.

Indigenous clothing often represents the culture, traditions and values of the people who wear it. The designs and patterns can be specific to a certain tribe or nation, and they often have deep spiritual meaning.They tell a story, transmit heritage and serve as badges of honour.

Final Thoughts

Indigenous fashion designers are making a big impact in the Toronto scene. With their unique designs and cultural influences, these designer create beautiful clothing and accessories that reflect the culture and history of First Nations people. They bring unique perspectives and styles to the city’s already diverse fashion scene. If you’re looking for something different than what you typically see on the runway or in stores, be sure to check out some of these talented designers. You won’t be disappointed!

If you are looking to support Indigenous business in Toronto or try indigenous cuisine too, be sure check out our list!

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