Indigenous designer Scott Wabano is heading to New York Fashion Week

An indigenous fashion designer who grew up on the coast of northern Ontario’s James Bay will be attending New York Fashion Week in the New Year.

For Scott Wabano, New York Fashion Week has always been a dream come true for the remote community of Moose Factory.

“I always dreamed of doing New York Fashion Week.

“So the fact that they already knew my name was kind of crazy and kind of surreal.”

For a long time, sustainability has been part of Indigenous fashion and part of Indigenous life.– Scott Wabano

Wabano has made a name for itself in the fashion industry with the Wabano brand of genderless streetwear focused on empowering people with Indigiqueer and dual spirits.

Indigenous representation in the fashion industry is important to Wavano.

“For too long, the fashion industry has had a very toxic and very colonial view of how people look and what sustainable clothing should be.

“For too long, sustainability has been part of Indigenous fashion and part of Indigenous life.”

A focus on representation and sustainability means Wavano has worked with indigenous models of all shapes, skin tones and sizes.

“There is a very damaging narrative right now that contributes a lot to pan-indigenousness. They have different textures and different body types.”

The Globe and Mail named Wavano, who grew up in the Moose Factory, Ontario, one of the best dressed in 2022. (Courtesy of Scott Wabano)

When it comes to sustainability, we prioritize the use of recycled materials. For example, part of our bomber jacket is made from recycled polyester.

Being invited to New York Fashion Week was a big step, but Wavano needed the help of the community to get him the rest of the way.

“I was definitely under the impression that everything was covered for you. But I don’t think so.

Running a fashion show includes costs such as payments for models, makeup artists, photographers, and venue fees.

However, Wavano did some crowdfunding and gained support from sponsors and their community, allowing them to host a fashion show in New York.

Their New York Fashion Week show takes place in February.

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