Our mission

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To bring global recognition to local indigenous fashion designers and artisans. INDIGENOUS FASHION WEEK  showcases the power and beauty of authentic Indigenous art and design by creating safe havens for talent development and by staging fashion shows, arts and cultural events.

About vifw

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Modern Indigenous Fashion expresses identity, spacetime, story, play and deep creativity - in leather, feathers, bone, skin, denim, silk, weave, brocade, wool, beads, graffiti, chain, stone, and colour. 

Humans have always adorned themselves to explore beauty, story, spirit, and belonging as our lives, roles and the world expands. In Indigenous Turtle Island, regalia is a highest art form, always integrating materials and new truths.  Contemporary Indigenous fashion mixes modern day glamour, high regalia and street styles with legacies of colonization, industrialization, and raises up clothing as an art form and statement. 

This Fashion Week expresses political, environmental and economic truths of land, territory, and rightful place.  These designers showcase modern Indigenous regalia that's innovative, vibrant, visible, resilient, beautiful, and proud. Brands and styles try to copy Indigenous design around the world. VIFW upholds authentic Indigenous artistry and reclaims the strong stories that draw global eyes and longing. We raise up Indigenous artistry, materials, and legacy with power, 
visibility, and deepest beauty.

Joleen Mitton

Joleen Mitton, East Vancouver born and bred, is no less proud of her Plains Cree, Blackfoot, Heritage. She began modeling at age 15 when a Vancouver talent scouts pulled her out of a crowd of people at the PNE. She feels extremely fortunate to have succeeded in her career as a model. She has a large portfolio created while traveling to exotic locations, working in a variety of mediums and meeting incredible people from across the globe.  

Joleen's passion for sport, art, fashion and design and social justice has lead her to focus on producing Aboriginal Fashion Shows and Basketball Tournaments across the city. Joleen has succeeded in raising awareness for local indigenous fashion and the Native Basketball community by hosting tournaments and producing fashion shows in Vancouver. ​She recognizes art and sport have a massive power in transforming and connecting people to their communities. She is dedicated to improving the lives of  people in her community, working intimately with a number of local non profits, putting her PR, marketing, social media and producing skills to good use.

Joleen works with the Aboriginal Urban Butterflies Day Camp-a program for children in foster care, and the Mentor Me program-which is for Native girl's aging out of foster care, and manages and plays on All My Relations women's basketball team.

All my relations founder,
indigenous fashion week producer

Joleen Mitton

All my relations founder,
indigenous fashion week producer

Joleen Mitton, East Vancouver born and bred, is no less proud of her Plains Cree, Blackfoot, Heritage. She began modeling at age 15 when a Vancouver talent scouts pulled her out of a crowd of people at the PNE. She feels extremely fortunate to have succeeded in her career as a model. She has a large portfolio created while traveling to exotic locations, working in a variety of mediums and meeting incredible people from across the globe.  

Joleen's passion for sport, art, fashion and design and social justice has lead her to focus on producing Aboriginal Fashion Shows and Basketball Tournaments across the city. Joleen has succeeded in raising awareness for local indigenous fashion and the Native Basketball community by hosting tournaments and producing fashion shows in Vancouver. ​She recognizes art and sport have a massive power in transforming and connecting people to their communities. She is dedicated to improving the lives of  people in her community, working intimately with a number of local non profits, putting her PR, marketing, social media and producing skills to good use.

Our team

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CHRISTINE SPINDER

CO-PRODUCER

Christine Spinder is 1st generation on this soil, from a lineage of Slovak activists and artists. Christine brings a 20+ year career as an Indigenous-Settler ally and community development facilitator, and as a storyteller, somatics coach and maker of sculpture installations in local, northern, and international forums.  "I love adornment and the stories it invites," she says of her role as VIFW Co-Producer. Other current projects include the Restoring Right Relationship Circles Project with Pacific Association of First Nation Women, and a story, stones and baskets sculpture installation.

Ellena Neel

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Ellena Neel walks a familiar path of Northwest coast artistry, a path lead by her family, and ancestors. Her family artists include such names as David Neel, Mungo Martin, Ellen Neel, andmaster carver Charlie James. Ellena has been taught formline by her father David since she was 6, and apprenticed with him during high school. She has combined her talent of sewing and west coast design to create new fashion forward regalia pieces.She has found a home in the vancouver nonprofits working with various aboriginal organizations as a coordinator, specialising in youth programming. She is currently working for the Kanata Festival, Pacific Association of First Nations Women, & the Bill Reid Gallery as a youth artist in residence.

VEE PHO

PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER

Vee Pho is a proud child of Chinese immigrants from post-revolution Vietnam, born in Montreal, QC and eventually raised in Vancouver, BC. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications, Art and Design from Simon Fraser University. Throughout her academic career and into the present, her work has always involved connecting people and helping share people’s stories through events and media. All of Vee’s work has surrounded the arts and culture industries, and more specifically in the sustainable fashion sector. After completing her degree, she started working in the LGBTQ nightlife industry and found her place as a show lighting designer and promoter. Vee is passionate about intersectionality in queer rights, bridging generations and cultures and hopes to do more for her community. At present, Vee sits on the executive board of the Dogwood Monarchist Society (est. 1971), a non-profit queer organization represented by an Elected Emperor or Empress (or both) with a goal to raise money for local charities.  Vee has always been interested in fashion and design from a young age but could never get on board with unhealthy standards of the industry until she found her niche in sustainable fashion. Currently, she serves as the Public Relations Manager of Eco Fashion Week, an international sustainable fashion event based in both Vancouver and Seattle. In this capacity, she works with influencers, and innovators to find solutions for a healthier fashion industry.

Robin Bancroft-Wilson

Show Director

Robin is honoured to be working with Vancouver Indigenous Fashion week with the intention of helping showcase the sacred art, innovative design and long standing creativity of First Peoples’.   Her work in Stage Management, Show Calling and Direction has spanned 17 years in Canadian Theatre and special events.  A passion for storytelling and human connection has allowed her to work on: Shakespeare in the country’s largest theatres, new works in the Down Town East Side, large scale music festivals, tech and innovation conferences, the Olympic Torch Relay at the Legislature, and more.   Robin’s interest in the fashion industry sprouted while modelling as a teen, grew roots while working on the inaugural season of BC Fashion Week and came to full bloom while Show Directing Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week for 8 glorious seasons.

Willow Riley

Model Coordinator (Den Mother)

Willow Riley has been in front of the camera beginning at 4 years old and has worked continuously as a professional model and actor for the past 22 years.  A natural advocate, Willow began her involvement with indigenous people and their cultural stewardship in her teens, volunteering as a bridge worker between indigenous youth and the elders at the UBC Farm and in the FEAST kitchen. She helped kids access live music with her involvement in the development of Straight Edge all ages underground music concerts, a platform she utilized to help kids find their way to services available to them. Willow has worked tirelessly in the development and training of young indigenous models and has mentored many girls in all aspects of the industry.  A regular in numerous runway events and print campaigns for indigenous designers including Evan Ducharme, Hawk’s Ave and the amazing Sho Sho Esquiro, Willow has rightly earned her reputation as a unique talent with amazing energy.

Tiffany Creyke

Communications

Tiffany Creyke, whose traditional name is Kastē’t, is a member of the Tahltan Nation, and an urban and rural planner who specializes in Indigenous Community Planning. She is the program coordinator for the Indigenous Place Making Council, co-creator of the ReMatriate Collective, and an active member of the Tahltan Youth Council. Creyke’s interests in reclaiming space to represent the Indigenous community in ways that are meaningful and reflective of who they are. She is passionate about youth empowerment, land rights, and dismantling the misappropriation of Indigenous peoples culture.

Amanda Nahanee

CULTURAL ADVISOR

Amanda Nahanee offers cultural advising including: facilitating Aboriginal engagement; corporate Aboriginal training for tourism, education, relationship building and cross- cultural relationships; and acting as a liaison for Aboriginal business. Our services include: major event planning, coordination, marketing and social media marketing, presentations workshop, and event facilitation.

MICHELLE HICKEY

SOCIAL MEDIA

Michelle is a Communication student at Simon Fraser University. She is a story enthusiast and her goal is to give a voice to the voiceless. She is pursuing journalism to use storytelling as a method of unification among divided communities. She is looking forward in working on the Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (VIFW), as she believes clothing shows great history and this summer the stories of Indigenous fashion will be unleashed (or alive?) She enjoys working with diverse communities. She is a committee member of World University Service Canada, where she organizes social events and advocacy campaigns on refugees and human rights. She is also a SFU Health Peer Educator, where she develops initiatives to encourage a healthy student lifestyle. She has always had an eye for fashion and she is excited to be part of the first Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week!

Linnea Dick

Community Outreach

Linnea Dick was born December 9, 1991 to Pamela Bevan and Beau Dick. She carries the Kwakwaka'wakw name Malidi, meaning to always find a purpose and path in life. She is of Kwakwaka'wakw, Nisga'a and Tsimshian heritage. She spent her early childhood in Alert Bay, later relocating to Vancouver along with her sister Geraldine. Between 2004 and 2005, Linnea spent time experiencing Haida culture and tradition in Haida Gwaii, where her two older sisters live. Her ambitions in life are to help people and she aims to one day establish a wellness centre for women and children. Her creative abilities include writing and painting.

Mary Holmes

MARKET DIRECTOR

An educator and community engagement specialist with over 15 years experience working in both rural and urban settings, designing and facilitating community inspired programming in the realms of youth leadership, intergenerational cultural sharing, food security, and job/apprenticeship training that serves Indigenous youth and their families.  She lives by the ocean in Port Moody, B.C.

Ajay Puri

Movement builder

Ajay is a movement builder and social artist. He has 15 years experience in empowering communities and creating social change in the non-profit, academic, government and social innovation sectors.
Mr. Puri was acknowledged for his work as a featured TEDx speaker and recognized as one of Canada's top five volunteers in CBC's Champions of Change contest. He has spoken to over 150 audiences nationally and internationally on topics dealing with social movements, social innovation, leadership, digital engagement, and healthcare transformation.

Our designers

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Tyler Jacobs
Michelle George
Loraine Guss
Pam Baker Copper Knot
Oka/Shop Wrong
Jill Stelah
Teresa Walker
Alano + Manitobah
Autumn Jules
Shannon Kilroy
Sections 35
Derek Packer
Evan Ducharme
Dominique Hanke
Linda Kay
Mia Hunt
Curtis Oland
Dorothy Grant
Denise Brillon
Yolanda Skelton
Korina Emmerich
Bill Reid
Dahlia Drive and Reg Davidson
Jeneen Frei Njootli
Sho Sho Esquiro