A local clothing design company that has showcased its garments across North America is putting on its first big Nanaimo show.
On Feb. 19, Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design presents Xwi’xwi’em: Telling a Story at the Port Theatre. It’s a fashion show that also features music, dance and storytelling. Aunalee Boyd-Good, who runs Ay Lelum with her sister Sophia Seward-Good, said while they’ve put on small community fashion shows over the years, this is their first “large production” in Nanaimo.
“We have wanted to share [our collections] with our own community for quite a long time,” Aunalee said.
The production will feature live and recorded music by members of the Good family, performances by Nanaimo Contemporary Ballet dancers and video messages from Aunalee and Sophia’s parents William and Sandra, who had their own fashion line called Ay Ay Mut, meaning ‘beautiful’ in Hul’q’umi’num.
“A fashion show tends to only last maybe 10 minutes and we really want give our community and our audience the whole experience of seeing a story come to life on the stage through fashion and how can we represent our culture in all of its beauty in all of its forms,” Sophia said.
The clothing on display will span Ay Lelum’s seven-year history and include some Ay Ay Mut garments. Sophia said the aim is to show how Ay Lelum has “evolved” over time.
Aunalee said presenting their work at the Port Theatre is meaningful, as the venue is in the area where their father was taken by his grandfather every day to learn and memorize Snuneymuxw oral history.
“So it’s a significant landscape for us to go in and share storytelling, but we’re also going to share where that comes from,” she said. “It comes from multiple generations of our family, and now here we are.”
WHAT’S ON … Xwi’xwi’em: Telling a Story at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $40 for adults, $35 for members, $15 for students with valid ID. Available here. Post-show chat in the theatre.