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Indigenous Fashion Designers Take Flight in Milan – The Kit

6 designers flew from Canada to Italy’s fashion capital to show their work to the world. The Kit joined them

During Milan Fashion Week, the city feels electric. Against a backdrop of neoclassical architecture and sparkling canals lined with aperitivo bars, Italy’s fashion capital is abuzz with the pursuit of creativity and commerce, the fullest expressions of personal style and the frisson that comes when people from all over the world connect with a shared purpose.

Off the runways, White Milano brings around 20,000 international buyers face to face with designers and their work in a series of cavernous buildings in the city’s Tortona design district; it’s the kind of fashion show whose wares actually end up in boutiques and department stores. It’s here, in February, that six Indigenous designers from Canada were invited to show their collections in a dedicated airy, industrial space.

“It’s overwhelming and exhilarating, and I feel so excited and happy for the designers,” says Sage Paul on the first morning of the show. Paul, an urban Denesuliné tskwe (woman) and a member of English River First Nation, is the co-founder and artistic and executive director of Indigenous Fashion Arts (IFA), best known for its runway shows that take place every two years.

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