Fashion group NB hopes to weave a future for designers of color
A New Brunswick nonprofit group is working to put blacks, Indigenous people and local designers of color on the fashion map.
United Colors of Fashion held its first global fashion show on Saturday in Saint John, New Brunswick.
The group aims to celebrate diversity through fashion and provide opportunities for people of color who wish to pursue careers in fashion. It involves training and networking with people in the Maritime fashion industry.
Rufina Ajalie, co-founder of the nonprofit, said fashion is about confidence and expression.
“There’s a meaning to the way United Colors of Fashion started, because we’re immigrants,” Ajalie said in an interview with CBC News.
“We have a lot of immigrants arriving who [would] like to do something fashion … so I thought, OK, why don’t you give them a platform to operate? “
In June, the group organized a training camp to help those interested in the industry. The participants learned to sew using a needle and thread.
More than 250 people gathered on Saturday to experience fashion at the Imperial Theater in the Irving Oil Auditorium.
The show featured designers from across New Brunswick and clothing from around the world, from countries like Nigeria, Egypt and parts of Asia.
“We have a goal to do [New Brunswick] a destination for people to come and watch fashion, ”Ajalie said, adding that they hope to continue hosting fashion shows in the future.
“Fashion is beautiful … It helps you really tell your own story and it helps you stand up and be yourself.”
For more stories about the experiences of black Canadians – from anti-black racism to success stories within the black community – check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.