Culture

How to not appropriate culture

Keyword in using Indigenous designs for fashion: collaborate

It’s not every day you see this kind of pairing. World renowned haute couture designer Valentino teamed up with Métis artist Christi Belcourt for an amazing fashion collaboration. Inspired by Belcourt’s beautiful painting Water Song, which hangs in Ottawa’s National Gallery, Valentino incorporated her designs into his Resort 2016 collection.

According to Fashion Magazine, Valentino’s designers reached out to Belcourt and showed her samples of the garments along the production process. They didn’t just lift designs without asking, without contemplating the cultural significance of Indigenous designs, patterns and art.

Flower beadwork — bright colourful beads on a dark background — is a traditional Métis artform. Belcourt is making a name for herself by taking those patterns and rendering them onto large canvases.

"It's really lovely to work with designers who respect the artist's work so highly," Belcourt recently told the CBC.

"It's not very often that they do, and do so in such a respectful way, and I think it's... it's refreshing."

We think the designs are spectacular. What do you think of the collaboration? 

Images courtesy of Christi Belcourt and Valentino

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