She never anticipated returning to fashion — or launching Vancouver’s first Indigenous fashion week

Building an industry is only part of it. This model turned social worker is out to inspire the next generation. The first ever Vancouver Indigenous Fashion week launches July 26

Joleen Mitton is the founder of Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week. The city's first event of its kind, it runs July 26-29. (

It’s not Paris or New York or Milan, but the public’s already clamouring for front row seats. Hell, any seat would be great. The first ever Vancouver Indigenous Fashion week launches July 26 — and as founder Joleen Mitton tells CBC Arts, spots at the next four days of runway shows are already fully booked (though you can check Eventbrite as more seats, which are free of charge, become available). The event, which runs to July 29 as part of the city’s Drum is Calling Festival, will feature work by 32 designers, including Evan DucharmeSho Sho Esquiro and Project Runway‘s Korina Emmerich. It’s a daily mix of streetwear, accessories and couture, with (bonus!) onsite performances and art installations. And prowling the runway? Almost all of the models are proudly Indigenous, too.