S05 Episode 247 | Christian Allaire of Vogue on the deep meaning behind Indigenous ribbon work & fashion as a means to reclaim culture


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In episode 247, Kestrel welcomes Christian Allaire, the Fashion and Style Writer at Vogue, to the show. Christian recently released his first book, titled The Power Of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used To Reclaim Cultures.

“I think of something like ribbon work in my culture — like every color of the ribbon means something, or maybe it represents someone in your life or like you said, intention is first and foremost. How it looks is important, but why it’s there is even more important. And so, I’m drawn to anyone who also approaches design that way.” -Christian

As a fashion-obsessed teen, Christian grew up on the Nipissing First Nation reserve in Ontario, Canada, scouring magazines or movies for style inspiration.

Years later, he realized that so much of his personal aesthetic and attraction to fashion and dressing was influenced by his own community - being Indigenous Ojibwe. From the colors to the garment making process to the deep meaning that can be embedded in clothing, his love of fashion was largely shaped in his early years, and continues to inform his writing today.

One of the chapters of Christian’s new book — The Power Of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used To Reclaim Cultures — is focused on “Sewing Tradition”, and he explores some of the history and meaning behind ribbon work, a tradition connected to his own family’s roots. Throughout the conversation, we touch a great deal on his experience having his own ribbon shirt made as an adult, and the layers of meaning literally built into that design.

But in Christian’s new book, he also explores beyond his own heritage, highlighting and connecting with an array of communities who are all using fashion and beauty to reclaim their culture.

Quotes & links from the conversation:

This week's episode is brought to you by For Days — they call themselves the “first closed loop clothing brand” and are dedicated to building a better, waste-free future.

If you’re interested in checking out For Days, you can use code CHATTER15 to get 15% off.

Learn more and shop at For Days.com

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