Indigenous fashion lovers challenge others to support artists

A pair of Indigenous fashion lovers are encouraging others to take on the #indigistyle fashion challenge to help support Indigenous artists and brands.

Pair of Indigenous youth promote Indigenous designers, brands and entrepreneurs through online community

Dani Lanouette and Gabrielle Fayant are two fashion lovers who are challenging others across Turtle Island to support Indigenous artists, brands and jewelry makers. (Josh Lewis)

A pair of Indigenous fashion lovers have started a new Instagram page to help promote Indigenous brands, artists and designers through the pandemic.

"It's almost like a fan page to hype up the artists and brands that we buy from and that we really love," said Gabrielle Fayant.

Fayant, who is Métis from Fishing Lake Métis Settlement in Alberta, started the Indigistyle page just over a month ago with her best friend Dani Lanouette.

The pair both live in Ottawa and work together at the Assembly of Seven Generations, a youth-led grassroots Indigenous organization meant to empower Indigenous youth.

Gabrielle Fayant said she is hoping to see more plus-size, trans, two spirit, gender non-conforming, and Afro-Indigenous folks take up space in fashion. (Josh Lewis)

Fayant said they have been sitting on the idea of starting a fashion blog for a while, and they love talking fashion with each other during their spare time. 

They thought the best way to support Indigenous designers, brands and entrepreneurs through the pandemic would be to help grow an online community.

"We are both people who love being decked out in beadwork and repping Indigenous artists," said Lanouette, who is Algonquin and Ojibway.

Lanouette in particular, loves the beadwork and jewelry that Indigenous artists are creating. 

"A lot of people think our ancestors were traditional and not as blinged out as we are now. But if you look back, and see the jewelry and the clothing we have now, it's so far from the truth," she said.

#Indigistyle challenge

Last week they invited another friend, Andrea Deleeuw, to help them with the #Indigistyle challenge.

"The challenge gives the account over to a host and every day has a new style prompt. People use the prompt to style their outfit, take a picture and upload to Indigistyle," said Deleeuw.

Deleeuw, who is Cree from Fort Vermilion, Alta., took on the challenge last week and had moccasins as a theme.

People who want to take part in the challenge, can put on a pair of their favourite moc's and use the hashtag for a chance to be featured on the pages Instagram stories.

Andrea Deleeuw hosted the moccasin theme earlier this week. She calls herself a fashion observer and said Indigenous fashion is an infusion of culture, sustainability, empowerment and community. (Submitted by Andrea Deleeuw)

Deleeuw​​​​​​​ has been friends with Fayant for years and was asked to join the group after she posted a sustainable fashion challenge on Instagram a few weeks ago.

For her, it's an opportunity to stay connected online during the pandemic.

"It's fun to see how fashion connects each other especially during this time when we can't really have gatherings or do all of the community things that we usually do," said Deleeuw​​​​​​​.

"It's a good way to stay culturally connected so hopefully it keeps growing."

Fayant said the page will be hosting Feature Fridays and will feature specific brands and designers that they would like to support. They also plan on sharing raffles, giveaways and special drops that designers are doing.