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AROUND NUNAVUT: Victoria’s Arctic Fashion hits the Paris runways

The design and sewing skills of Inuit will get another burst of recognition on the world stage later this month when Victoria Kakuktinniq unveils 24 new creations at Paris Fashion Week, while singing star Kelly Fraser collects an Indspire Award in Calgary. For a side of fun, Nunavut kids can think up creative names for an RCMP pup.

Victoria Kakuktinniq of Victoria’s Arctic Fashion is headed to Paris Fashion Week later this month. She says it’s a dream come true.
photo courtesy Victoria’s Arctic Fashion

Victoria heads to Paris runways


Victoria Kakuktinniq of Victoria’s Arctic Fashion is headed to Paris Fashion Week in late February, bringing the work of eight fellow Inuit designers to complete her head-to-toe looks.

Her designs will be featured at the Flying Solo show, as well as through International Indigenous Fashion Week’s Paris offering of eight established designers and eight emerging designers.

“Paris Fashion Week is a dream come true,” stated Kakuktinniq by e-mail. “I was chosen out of hundreds of applicants to be a designer to watch at both shows. I cannot explain how grateful I feel, and nervous for this opportunity. I believe this opportunity comes with a great responsibility to ensure 100 per cent Inuit representation on the world fashion stage for my V.A.F. designs.”

Kakuktinniq said she was offered the items of Parisian designers to complete her looks, but she opted instead to support her Inuit community. With that in mind, she turned to social media, asking for collaborators.

“There is a lot that goes into runway shows that people don’t realize. For every model, we need to provide footwear, jewelry, accessories,” said Kakuktinniq.

From 80 applicants, eight were successful, and those will soon be announced on social media.

“We do really appreciate the overwhelming number of individuals who wanted to collaborate with us, and we, of course, are keeping them on file for future shows,” she said.

“I feel very honoured to have an opportunity to represent and revitalize Inuit art and fashion on a world stage. I hope this opportunity opens up greater avenues for fashion in the North and we see an influx in demand for Inuit fashion which will translate into more desire for education in traditional sewing and more jobs for tailors and seamstresses across the North. One can hope.”


Sanikiluaq’s Kelly Fraser will be recognized with a youth award at the 2019 Indspire Awards, scheduled for Feb. 22 in Calgary.
photo courtesy Indspire Awards

Kelly Fraser Indspires


Sanikiluaq’s own songstress, activist and role model Kelly Fraser will receive a youth award at the 2019 Indspire Awards Feb. 22 in Calgary.

Created in 1993, the Indspire Awards represent the highest honour from the Indigenous community for Indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding career achievement.

“They promote self-esteem and pride for Indigenous communities and provide outstanding role models for Indigenous youth,” according to the website.

Fraser is recognized for her use of modern pop music to strengthen Inuit culture and language and to promote the Inuit way of life to young people across Canada.

Nominated for Indigenous Album of the Year at the 2018 Juno Awards for the Inuktitut and English album Sedna, Fraser believes that contemporary music in Inuktitut will increase pride in Inuit identity.

“By sharing her own personal struggles, Kelly brings hope to Indigenous youth who are struggling like she has,” according to the program notes.

“When she’s not creating or performing her own music, Kelly teaches Inuktitut language lessons, does cultural and motivational speaking, teaches songwriting, and helps to organize Nunavut Hitmakerz, a project which aims to give underprivileged Nunavummiut youth opportunities to learn creative expression and technical skills.”

Also earning an Indspire award was Iglulik's Atuat Akittirq. The 83-year-old lived a nomadic life in Nunavut's Aggu region until she was relocated to the municipality that is now her home. Akittirq has sat on the Elder Advisory Committee with the Department of Education since 2004. She's long been an advocate for including Inuit language and culture in the school system and continues to practise Inuit traditions and customs in her own life. She earned a Genie Award for best costume design in 2010 due to her work with Isuma Productions and she's Indspire's lifetime achievement award winner this year.


Name the RCMP puppies


Nunavut youth once again have the opportunity to join in on the annual RCMP name-the-puppy contest.

“The chosen names will be given to 13 German Shepherd puppies born at the Police Dog Service Training Centre in Innisfail, Alberta,” stated the RCMP.

“The 13 children whose names are selected will each receive a laminated 8×10-inch photo of the pup they name, a plush dog named Justice and an RCMP baseball cap.”

One name will be drawn from entries from each territory and province.

The contest rules include: names must begin with the letter “M;” names must have no more than nine letters; names must be one or two syllables; contestants must live in Canada and be 14 years old or younger; only one entry per child will be eligible; and entries must be received by March 26.

Contest winners and the winning names will be announced on April 30 on the RCMP website and social media.

Entries can be submitted on-line or by mail.