Vision

Redefining the art and fashion industries, presenting the most progressive, distinct and exceptional Indigenous-made fashion, textiles and crafts.

Mission

IFWTO presents Indigenous-made fashion, textiles and craft. IFWTO is committed to exploring the deep connections between mainstream fashion, Indigenous art and traditional practice through presentation for broad audiences and industries. With amplified visibility of and led by Indigenous women, IFWTO is bold, inclusive and accessible. We challenge perceptions of and celebrate Indigenous people and our culture with integrity, innovation and excellence.

Mandate

IFWTO presents live showcases, curated exhibitions, artist talks, panels, lectures, hands-on workshops, and a trade and consumer marketplace, programming 60% or more Indigenous women artists and their works in fashion, textiles and craft.

IFWTO is majority Indigenous-led non-profit collective and committed to becoming a leader in the dissemination and exportation of Indigenous-made works for the advancement and empowerment of Indigenous artists and designers, connecting them and their work to Canadian and international audiences, festivals, buyers, retailers, curators and institutes.

IFWTO also provides Indigenous artists and designers with professional development, skills development and networking opportunities.

Our Name

During and as a result of colonization, Indigenous-made fashion, crafts and textiles have been commodified and devalued to exploit, disempower and erase Indigenous culture and people; additionally, the creation of fashion, crafts and textiles, including the use of those words, have been excluded from the patriarchal, western definition of “art” as “women’s work” and belittled to only a “hobby” of fashion.

The name “Fashion Week” is purposeful: to represent and be accessible to our community of makers who have been excluded from the colonial artistic construct. We strive for artistic integrity beyond euro-western artistic definitions.

We are an arts and culture festival. A festival that presents Indigenous-made fashion, crafts and textiles and consequently fosters economic and industry development.

Politics

IFWTO is for everyone! Fashion, textiles and craft are accessible art forms. Regardless of class, gender, culture, race, geographic location, education level, artistic understanding or professional industry, every person undeniably interacts with these forms every single day. Fundamentally, clothing is survival that connects us to each other and the land.

IFWTO challenges mainstream perceptions of Indigenous people and our culture. Indigenous stereotypes, exploitation and commodification are harmful and high-profile: appropriation by international retailers, ignorant street-style fashion at massive music festivals, racist national sports team mascots, and violent news headlines & online comments sections. By creating space for and presenting Indigenous artists we contribute to dismantling these persistent and harmful perceptions of Indigenous people and our culture, shifting the focus to Indigenous people and our work from across Canada – on and off-reserve – and around the world.

Our priority is to program 60% or more Indigenous women. We amplify our voices and visibility and put our women front and centre. At IFWTO, the presence of and leadership by Indigenous women is essential: we are here. We make up most Indigenous makers in Canada, we advocate each other and we honour our matriarchs who have come before us and their work.

IFWTO (Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto) is operated by a group of primarily Indigenous women. IFWTO gives artistic and professional agency to Indigenous makers, presenting their fashion, textiles and craft in showcases, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and a marketplace outside of the mainstream fashion and craft industries. IFWTO is Indigenous-led and committed to becoming a leader in the dissemination and exportation of Indigenous-made works for the advancement, empowerment and wellbeing of Indigenous artists, with a focus on amplifying the visibility and voices of Indigenous women, connecting them and their works to Canadian and international audiences, festivals, buyers, curators and academic institutes.