New Brunswick

N.B. fashion group hopes to weave a future for designers of colour

A New Brunswick non-profit group is working put local Black, Indigenous and designers of colour on the fashion map. United Colors Of Fashion hosted its first global fashion show in Saint John, N.B. on Saturday.

More than 250 people attended a fashion show hosted by non-profit United Colours of Fashion

A model wears a piece by Christine Eruokwu, who started Kaima Designs, a Nigerian-inspired clothing line based in Saint John, N.B. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

A New Brunswick non-profit group is working put local Black, Indigenous and designers of colour on the fashion map.

United Colors of Fashion hosted its first global fashion show in Saint John, N.B., on Saturday.

The group aims to celebrate diversity through fashion and provide opportunities for people of colour who want to craft a career in fashion. This involves training and networking with people in the Maritime fashion industry.  

Rufina Ajalie, co-founder of the non-profit, said fashion is about confidence and expression.

"There is a meaning to way United Colors of Fashion started, because we are immigrants," said Ajalie in an interview with CBC News.

"We have a lot of immigrants who are coming in who [would] like to do something fashion ... so I thought, OK, why don't you give them a platform to leverage?"

Rufina Ajalie is the co-founder of the non-profit United Colors of Fashion. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

In June, the group held a training camp to help people who were interested in the industry. Participants were taught how to sew by using a needle and thread. 

More than 250 people gathered to take in the fashions at the Imperial Theatre at the Irving Oil Auditorium on Saturday. 

The show featured designers from across New Brunswick and fashions from around the world, from countries like Nigeria, Egypt and parts of Asia.

Starting off the show was a design by Mi'kmaw artist Oakley Rain Wysote Gray of Listiguj First Nation. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC )

"We have a goal to make [New Brunswick] a destination for people to come in to watch fashion," said Ajalie, adding they hope to continue hosting fashion shows in the future. 

"Fashion is beautiful.... It helps you to really tell your own story and it helps you to stand tall and to be yourself."

A model wears a piece by Christine Eruokwu of Kaima Designs. Eruokwu is the co-founder of the non-profit United Colours of Fashion. (Mrinali Anchan/CBC)

 

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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