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‘It’s not a trend’: Shayla Oulette Stonechild on Indigenous fashion

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Model-activist’s style is rooted in her community

Shayla Oulette Stonechild is a content creator, activist, yoga instructor, model and fashion trendsetter.

But it wasn’t always that way.

The Cree-Métis woman, from Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan, remembers being a “very shy and introverted teenager” who didn’t like to draw attention to herself.

“When I started to reclaim more of my power and my voice and my connection to spirit, that’s when I felt like fashion could actually be a showcase of who I am internally,” she told CBC Kids News contributor Sophia Smoke.

These days, her face and her style can be seen on social media, in magazines, in advertisements and on runways.

CBC Kids News met up with Oulette Stonechild during this year’s Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival in Toronto, Ontario, to talk about her journey and what it’s like to be in demand.

Finding your story

Oulette Stonechild has amassed nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram.

She is the founder of the Matriarch Movement, a non-profit online platform and podcast that aims to amplify Indigenous voices, with a focus on advocacy and wellness.

She is also an ambassador with the athletic apparel company Lululemon, but her earliest modelling gigs were with Indigenous streetwear brands Section 35 and The NTVS.

Shayla Oulette Stonechild said that, no matter how busy she gets, community is one of the most important aspects of her day-to-day life. (Image credit: Shayla Oulette Stonechild/Instagram)

Oulette Stonechild said Indigenous artists and Indigenous fashion are rooted in culture. 

“One thing that defines Indigenous fashion for me is that it’s not a trend,” she said. 

“It’s actually a part of our culture and it represents and expresses where we come from within our communities.”

She knows that a lot of young people are watching her for her fashion sense and she has some tips for anyone who wants to develop their own style.

“What part of your story are you looking to elevate, and how does that relate to how you show up?” she asked. “For me, I really find my style through connecting to land and connecting to those colours and connecting to those elements.”

Want to hear more about Shayla’s fashion journey? Click play on the video below.

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