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First Fridays: Historical Ribbon Shirts by Iris Lauzon
September 6, 2019 at7:00 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Doors at 6pm
Showing at 7pm – Historical Progression of Ribbon Shirts
Mix and mingle until 9pm
FREE and open to the public
The Emcee for the evening will be David McLeod of NCI Radio
DJ Aaron Peters
Photography by Jacques St. Goddard
The Historical Progression of Ribbon Shirts is a series of 10 historically accurate ribbon shirts worn by Indigenous men throughout history. It focuses on the changing styles, and how design has been affected by the environment, the impact of settler influence, colonization, and fashions of the day. Fashion always follows some basic rules and within the context of Indigenous culture, we are no different. Indigenous Designers have always been around, but not always ‘labeled’ as such. I’d like those that come out to see my display, to know that we take pride in our work, and to always strive forward.
I was told by a teacher years ago that our people were not skilled at sewing since she had gone to one pow-wow, inspected what was being made and sold, and wasn’t impressed. I made up my mind right there to prove her wrong. I have watched and researched, and I am always open to learning new techniques which is most important. There are masters out there, and if you have the good fortune of meeting one, listen and learn from them.
I hope to achieve awareness of the contribution that Indigenous people have made to the development of fashion from the time settlers arrived to today and be able to share that knowledge. Now is a great time because we have so much history to look back on and to see that Indigenous people were active and took their place in the garment history.
Iris Lauzon – Bio
Iris was born in Churchill, Manitoba and is a member of York Factory Cree Nation. She has resided in Winnipeg most of her adult life, except from ’91 to ’95 when she was in Saskatoon attending Design school.
Iris was removed from her home during the 60’s scoop at four years of age and raised in Oakville, Ontario, which is west of Toronto. At 15 years old, she became a runaway and headed to Toronto to start a new life. While there, she met an older woman who knew her biological family, which eventually led to reuniting with her older brother. These same women taught her bead work and some of the leather arts. These skills never leave you once taught, and they can be applied to anything you do in design. When Iris has the need to create, she uses fabric. Fabric is her paint as paint is to a painter.
Iris started out as an artist in sculpting and painting, then discovered she could create and express herself through design/sewing. She studied Basics in Pattern drafting at the University of Manitoba from ’86 to ’87, and then at the Yvonne Yuen School of Design from ’92 to ’95. Yvonne Yuen was her mentor. “She pushed me past my own limits, she believed in me and that I should always strive to do better. To this day, I can still hear her voice asking me if that’s the best I can do?”
Iris has worked in many areas of the textile industry. Anything that touches fabric, she has worked it. From factory, alterations, retail, to theatre and film. Iris has participated in and coordinated numerous fashion shows from the early ’90’s up to this year. She is one of the local designers that ran a small boutique under the name of Aboriginal Designers Marketing Co-op from September 29, 2016 to May 31, 2019.
Iris’s passion is design; it is how she expresses herself, connects, and celebrates community.
Iris would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts: Creating, Knowing, Sharing program.
@CanadaCouncil #BringingTheArtsToLife canadacouncil.ca