With in-person fashion events cancelled due to COVID-19, Nanaimo’s Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design is launching its new fall collection online.
The local clothing design and production company was originally going to unveil the collection, Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun – Eagle Spindle Whorl at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto in May. Instead, next month designers and sisters Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward-Good will present a fashion music video featuring their latest garments modelled by family members and local models.
“It’s really thrilling to be able to launch it, especially because everything was halted with COVID and once all of our shows were cancelled we did not know what we were going to be able to do next, as everyone was in the same position,” Boyd-Good said. “And so we’re just really excited to be able to launch the collection, move forward with it and share it.”
The collection is inspired by the theme of the Indigenous Fashion Week showcase they were to be a part of, ‘Women as Watercarriers.’ Seward-Good said in interpreting that theme to suit Coast Salish culture, she and Boyd-Good decided to focus on the spindle whorl, a disc-like device used traditionally by women in hand spinning and representative of women as live-givers.
The garments in the Yuxwule’ Sul’sul’tun feature eagle, serpent and orca designs, as spindle whorls are typically decorated with images from legends and family stories, Seward-Good said. The designs were created by artists William and Joel Good, father and brother of Boyd-Good and Seward-Good.
In creating the jackets, dresses, ponchos and other articles of clothing, Boyd-Good and Seward-Good used natural fibres and recycled materials, a long-standing practice of theirs.
“I think it’s really important that we keep a low carbon footprint and we need to be sustainable and local and be able to support our own economy,” Seward-Good said. “So we try to stay as eco-friendly as possible and support our own businesses within B.C.”
The fashion video will feature music by members of the Good family with local producer Rob the Viking of hip hop group Swollen Members. The songs, sung in both the Snuneymuxw language of Hul’q’umi’num and English, relate to the stories to which the images allude, including one unintentionally topical song about illuminating a world shrouded in shadow.
“It’s like a prayer for the people to bring us out of this time of darkness and bring the light to us, as was done before when the Creator sent the supernatural eagle to bring the sunlight to the people,” Boyd-Good said. “So we’re bringing it back around into current time.”