We The Inspired clothing line aims to build positive discourse about Indigenous people
The line, being launched next week, will feature hoodies, T-shirts, hats and scarves adorned with images and words of inspiration from Indigenous culture.
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Toronto model Nadia George wants to add a little "native" flair to the city's textile industry.
Her clothing line, We The Inspired, will launch next week in Toronto and is all about promoting inclusiveness for Indigenous people and building a positive discourse about their stories and their place in the city.
"So often we hear about the hurt, the pain and the suffering that Indigenous people are going through, which is real and needs to be discussed," said George, who originates from the Mi'kmaq First Nation.
"The problem is, we can only take in so much sadness. At some point people start shutting out. I hope I can tell inspiring stories about Indigenous people through this project."
Under the theme of "urban street to Native chic," the project will roll out various items such as hoodies, T-shirts, hats and scarves adorned with images and words of inspiration from Indigenous culture.
Ten per cent of the sales will be donated to We Matter Campaign, an Indigenous non-profit dedicated to promoting youth empowerment across the country.
At a time when the discussion about cultural appropriation has taken centre stage, George said her project has an educational and awareness component and the street wear she creates does not have to be exclusively worn by Indigenous people.
"You can stand up and say 'Yes, I'm not Native but I support the movement and the changes that need to be made,'" she said, noting non-Indigenous people can be good allies by supporting, not re-creating, Indigenous cultural practices.
"For so long in the Indigenous historical context, we weren't allowed to celebrate our art and our culture. Now is the time to show our pride, and we want others to be supportive of that."
We The Inspired will officially launch Nov. 3 at the Freedom Factory (22 Dovercourt Rd.). There will also be an Indigenous art exhibition, curated by Tiffany MacIssac and Stefanie Zuccarini.