Indigenous Fashion Arts: Empowering Cultural Resurgence and Anti-Fashion Movement with Sage Paul

Small Business Canada

It’s one thing to talk about advocacy, non-conformance and Indigenous value, while it’s completely a different ballgame to act on it. Sage Paul embodies all the aspects of an audacious and outspoken unceremonious endorsement of reclaiming a positive change by exhibiting her roots. Her nuanced yet bold way of adhering to her Indigenous identity, traditions, and values whilst striving to attain her goals is truly inspiring. 

Setting Up the Perspective Right

Paul needs no introduction because she has carved her way into the mainstream fashion industry and even set the silver screen ablaze with her designs and mentored several young designers. She is the co-founder, executive and artistic director of Indigenous Fashion Arts (IFA), a non-profit arts organization that supports, fosters, and celebrates Indigenous makers, designers, and artists who work in fashion, craft, and textiles. The organization does this through various programs such as festivals, advocacy, incubator, and creation programs.

Holding strong to her Indigenous identity, Paul believes it is crucial for Indigenous communities to be part of Canada’s larger economy and culture while also creating economic opportunities within their communities. She advocates anti-fashion, a movement that looks at subcultures of fashion left out of the mainstream and celebrates minority cultures such as BIPOC by accommodating their cultural values. 

Adding Values with Bohemianism

Paul strongly believes in the mainstream fashion industry, which mainly thrives on capitalism, what’s trending, and what sells. Yet Indigenous clothing, with its visual splendour, customs, ceremonial features, and rich backstories, has the potential to change this. These tales have served as both a warning about current events, a reminder of the past, and a means of recognizing one another across cultural boundaries. The primary distinction between Indigenous and commercially produced fashion is the complexity of items handcrafted by Indigenous people. 

She also thinks a major revival and reclamation is now underway, bringing attention to Indigenous methods of understanding, dressing, and acting that were prohibited by colonization, residential schools, and other factors. She advocates “authentic appropriations,” or being true to one’s ideas, ethics, or values. It is boldly displayed all over her business website. Paul encourages people to consider where their food comes from and what they put on their bodies.

Inspiring the Larger Community to Assert Culture

Sage Paul is a source of inspiration and an advocate for Indigenous designers and artists. Her organization, IFA, is a platform that provides resources, celebrates Indigenous culture, and supports economic opportunities for Indigenous communities. 

Sage’s vision for anti-fashion and authentic appropriations is not just a trend but a crucial movement that recognizes the beauty and importance of minority cultures in the fashion industry. Her work in the fashion industry is a step towards diversity, inclusion, and representation of Indigenous designers and artists.

Indigenous fashion is inclusive, contemporary, and splurging with inspiration to go back to one’s roots. If you’re interested in learning more about it, log onto

Indigenous fashion is truly worth your attention and dime, to read more about such brands that promote and work with Indigenous trailblazing designers, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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