Ryerson University's first Indigenous designer in residence hopes to inspire fashion students
Angela DeMontigny has worked in the fashion industry for 25 years
Fashion designer Angela DeMontigny says she's been showcasing the beauty of her culture in her clothing and accessories for years.
Now, as Ryerson University's first Indigenous designer in residence, she's eager to encourage fashion students at the school to do the same.
"I've been giving them some inspiration and mentoring them to start being really authentic," DeMontigny told CBC's Our Toronto.
"They're starting to embrace that and it's really cool."
DeMontigny is Cree and Métis, and her designs have been flaunted on runways around the globe. Her most recent collection is called Of the Stars.
"I'm trying to show people we have a connection with the stars, the sun and the moon," she said.
"We call them our grandfather and grandmother."
'Be more mindful of who you're buying from'
As a designer in residence, DeMontigny delivers lectures to the students and mentors them.
She says she's seeing a shift in the fashion industry from gender equality to more diversity, but she's still working to educate more people about cultural appropriation.
Watch Talia Ricci's interview with Angela DeMontigny on Our Toronto Saturday and Sunday at noon, and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV.
"There is a lot of confusion about it," she said.
"If you're buying it from a large company or someone who is not Indigenous then that is appropriation."
DeMontigny says it's important to do your research.
"Buy from an Indigenous artist or designer and support that small business," she said.
"Be more mindful of who you're buying from, what you're buying."
DeMontigny's boutique in Hamilton, Ont. also showcases the work of other Indigenous artists. As a designer who's been in the business for 25 years — and whose work is recognized — she aims to highlight up-and-coming Indigenous talent, from artists to models.
"I hope that also helps young Indigenous people aspire to have careers in fashion or the creative industry."