An initiative out of Australia is coming to Saskatoon to make sure that when it comes to aboriginal inspiration on the catwalk, indigenous designers are involved.
Australia's Global Indigenous Management puts on the Indigenous Runway Project, which has teamed up with Her4Directions fashion collective for a globetrotting fashion adventure. It includes a special runway experience in the bridge city in September.
Designer Helen Oro became involved in the project while showcasing her traditional beadwork accessories line at Melbourne Fashion Week in Australia in 2015.
"Last year, when I attended I made a great friendship with them and we stayed connected," Oro explained on CBC's Saskatoon Morning.
"Their vision is to bring indigenous designers and models together and get them a foot into the mainstream fashion world."
Global Indigenous Management's Indigenous Runway Project began a few years ago in Australia to support and empower young aboriginal designers and models.
'There is so much going on in the mainstream where they rip off designs from sacred designs from tribes and put them on the runway.' - Helen Oro, Her4Directions
The project has reached other global indigenous communities in places such as New Zealand, Arizona, Africa, and now Canada.
"We want our event to be huge. We have people coming from overseas and we want to give them that really great experience that I received when I was down there and give them that cultural exchange," Oro said.
The week long event in Saskatoon will include training, workshops, and special direction for local models. At the end, Oro said the runway will showcase designs and entertainment.
But it's not just the excitement of the runway. Oro said it's an important opportunity to show the mainstream fashion world that indigenous designers are out there.
"There is so much going on in the mainstream where they rip off designs from sacred designs from tribes and put them on the runway," Oro said.
"Some of these designs have been in the families and tribe for years and they aren't supposed to be used [like that]... It's part of their history, their culture, their family, and it tells a story. So, for designers to just grab that and put it on the runway without any knowledge or asking for approval is really disrespectful."
Oro said the problem persists because they aren't being heard, and the Indigenous Runway Project is a way to make their voices louder.
"I think it is a chance for everyone to see what we have to offer as designers. We are able to create our own labels and our own designs," she said.
"If they are interested in working with us, hey that's even better, but having an event like this, it just opens the door for us even more for people to see us, because not everyone knows where to look ."