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Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum makes Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto debut

Clothing design company showing new collection, Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl
Sophia Seward-Good and Aunalee Boyd-Good of Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design are showcasing their latest collection Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. (Photo courtesy Helena Lines)

A Nanaimo clothing design company is making its debut at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto this week.

From Nov. 26 to 29 designers from First Nations from across Canada, as well as New York state and New Zealand, will be showcasing their latest garments and sisters Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward-Good of Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design are excited to bring the coastal representation.

IFWTO, originally scheduled to take place in the spring, is happening online this year and features a virtual marketplace, panel discussions and runway programs. Ay Lelum’s latest collection Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl, launched online in September, will be included in the closing night runway program, Tu Gh’el T’ilhn (Water Carriers).

“It’s really an honour to be involved in the event. We were really looking forward to it and we’re just so happy that it’s still going ahead,” Boyd-Good said.

“It’s great to be recognized in Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto and just have our pieces showcased on that platform,” Seward-Good added. “It’s always nice to do it ourselves but then to have that recognition to be able to show our pieces in another area of Canada I think is really important.”

Boyd-Good noted that the show is particularly meaningful for the sisters because their family has roots in Ontario, as their great-grandfather was a painter who lived in Toronto. Among the articles of clothing Ay Lelum sent to Toronto to be part of the show is a dress created as part of last year’s K’wuyucun – Grizzly Bear collection that combines a detail of a 1942 painting by their great-grandfather with a grizzly bear design by their brother, artist Joel Good.

Boyd-Good said she and Seward-Good are also looking forward to seeing what the other designers will be unveiling at IFWTO.

“I think it’s neat to see what everyone’s working on, especially during a pandemic. What they had ready ahead, what they’ve made since,” she said. “So I think it’s exciting to see collectively what designers are doing.”

To view the full Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto schedule, click here. Tu Gh’el T’ilhn (Water Carriers) will be shown Nov. 29 at 4 p.m. Ay Lelum will also be presenting a webinar on supporting indigenous businesses through the Museum of Vancouver on Nov. 28 at noon. For more information and to register, click here.

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