Yellowknife fashion show blending 2 worlds: traditional and modern
The clothes are 'what a modern-day Indigenous woman wants to wear,' says Tishna Marlowe
For clothing designer Tishna Marlowe, it's an "honour" to be showcasing her designs in the Northwest Territories, where she grew up.
Marlowe, who now lives in Alberta, is the chief designer of Six Red Beads. She is holding a fashion show Thursday night called Nu wes kéne xa — or For Our Children — at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife.
It's being hosted by the departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Industry, Tourism, and Investment.
Yellowknife is a special location for Marlowe because she draws much of her inspiration from the North and traditional Dene culture.
"A lot of my design influences come from my childhood, my upbringing, basically, the North. And I feel like coming home to the North, presenting my clothes is such an honour," she said.
The show took months of preparations, which involved dealing with clothing, models, hair and makeup, and sound.
Five different clothing lines will grace the runway, one of which features four red outfits that represent missing and murdered Indigenous women.
For Marlowe, the topic of missing and murdered Indigenous women is personal to her and she "wanted to bring a presence to this issue."
"I know someone that's been missing and it still bothers me to this day and it's been close to 30 years," she said.
Marlowe said the audience can expect clothes that show her living in two worlds: traditional and modern. The clothes are "what a modern-day Indigenous woman wants to wear."
She hopes that her success inspires other designers and helps open doors for others in the North.
But, she does believe that more funding is necessary to help give Northern fashion designers a platform to jumpstart their careers.
"I think what we need is more arts centres. We need to invest more money in hiring artists that teach specific traditional techniques, arts, concepts," she said.
"I think the government really needs to invest in the art scene in Yellowknife and the fashion arts scene," she said.
Marlowe's advice to any aspiring fashion designers in the Northwest Territories is: keep sewing, keep making gifts, keep practising your craft and keep altering your clothes.
Marlowe said coming back home is a way to gage the quality of her work: if the amazing beaders in the North like her work, she knows she's done well.