This story was first published by APTN News in Canada. It has been republished here with permission.
When there is a fashion show in Nunavut, it’s usually for visitors to the territory.
A fashion show in Iqaluit this past weekend was different, it was by Inuit for Inuit.
Victoria Kakuktinniq is with Victoria’s Arctic Fashions and one of two designers who just returned from a show in Paris.
“It was very overwhelming,” said Kakuktinniq. “It was kind of like surreal, it was almost like unbelievable, until we actually got there, ‘oh my gosh, we’re in Paris, what are we doing here?’ It was really great, it was such an honour to be there as an Inuk promoting our Inuit culture, and showcasing our Inuit designs.
“We were very honoured to be able to do that.”
A few months later, here they are, with a full on fashion runway show in Iqaluit, featuring six local designers.
“We both decided that it would be a really great idea for us to come back to Iqaluit and show our friends and family our garments,” said Kakuktinniq.
Traditional and modern, at once. From the drum dancing intro to those runway scowls, both fashion and Inuit culture were walking the runway, just like these women wanted.
Melissa Attagutsiak is the other designer who put the show together with Kakuktinniq.
“We really love to see everybody coming together, to put on a show like this,” said Attagutsiak. “There’s so many different things that go into it. I love to bring it back home to where I learned how to sew.”
For one night at least, the Koojeese room of the Frobisher Inn became a fashion runway.
Two local fashion standouts gave their peers a place alongside them, and Iqaluit residents supported their local talent with a loud, excited, full house.
Iqaluit isn’t Paris, and it didn’t need to be, not on this night.
By Kent Driscoll