Sage Paul is an urban Dene woman and a member of English River First Nation. Sage is an innovative leader for Indigenous fashion, craft and textiles, championing family, sovereignty and resistance for balance through her work. Some of her art and design has shown at the Royal Ontario Museum, The Centre for Craft, Creativity and Design (North Carolina, USA), and Western Canada Fashion Week. She has presented on Indigenous fashion, luxury and cultural appropriation for The Walrus Magazine, Ryerson University, Brock University, Toronto Women’s Fashion Week and now South Africa Fashion Week. She was recently recognized by FLARE Magazine in their #HowIMadeIt campaign that celebrates 100+ talented, ambitious and driven Canadian women and was featured by the Ontario Minister of the Status of Women as a trailblazing woman who is transforming Ontario. Sage is the Artistic Director and Founder of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto and Co-Founder of Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator. With the Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator collective, Sage was one of the first to introduce urban hide tanning to current-day Toronto. Sage also collectively curated the craft exhibit “Indian Giver: Truth Telling and Narratives of Representation” and she was a leader of the Ts’Kwe Maker’s Atelier, a program by Setsuné in partnership with IKEA Canada for the economic sustainability of Indigenous women makers. Sage is currently working on two fashion-based projects: Giving Life and the Mint Sweater Project.
I proudly acknowledge funding support received from the Indigenous Arts Projects program at the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the Indigenous Arts Projects program at the Toronto Arts Council.
Sage Paul is an urban Dene woman and a member of the English River First Nation; she makes fashion, costume and craft. Her most recent work, Re-Dress (Redress) is an act of cultural repatriation. Sage purchased a pair of full-sized caribou antlers back from a hipster furniture store. With her mom, she re-dresses the antlers in a beaded peyote stitch. This piece was exhibited as a part of Indian Giver: Truth Telling and Narratives of Representation (2016) at Gallery 1313 in Toronto.
One of Sage’s other works include Synaptic City (2012), a diptych of wearable art and ready-to-wear fashion collections that have been displayed at The Royal Ontario Museum, The Woodland Cultural Centre and the Harbourfront Centre. This series of plexi-glass regalia and chiffon clothing is a reflective synapse for an urban Indigenous experience.
Sage has spoken about cultural appropriation with The FADER, The Toronto Star and CBC Arts. She was also a speaker for The Walrus Magazine’s Walrus Talk Series: “What is Art, Anyway?” and Ryerson University’s “Aware – We Are?”, The School of Fashion’s first-ever panel discussion about cultural appropriation. Most recently she presented ideas of Indigenous Luxury at the Nouveau Reach conference by Brock University. Here, Sage speaks about reclaiming appropriated practices, for example, by fleshing and tanning deer hides in Toronto with her peers: Indigenous women and artists. Did you know the luxury fur Industry was formative in the creation of Canada? Although Indigenous women now often have little or no visibility, it was Indigenous women who led the fur industry. It is this reality of appropriation and disenfranchisement of our culture, people and land that drives Sage to speak and make, in honour of her ancestors and sisters.
Sage was also an artistic and production leader for Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator’s Ts’Kwe Maker’s Atelier program with IKEA Canada. With a group of Indigenous women entrepreneurs, up-cycled materials were used to create a 2000-piece collection of kitchen textiles. This collection activates the Indigenous philosophy of “waste nothing", encouraging consumers to take that traditional teaching home with them. (Learn more about the project).
Sage has completed three fashion collections and designed wardrobe for film and theatre including with Danis Goulet, Kent Monkman and Herbie Barnes. She also co-founded the Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator, a platform to promote Indigenous artists working in fashion, textiles and crafts. She is currently working on costume design for Storefront Theatre and Kingston Theatre and working on two fashion-based projects: Giving Life and the Mint Sweater Project.
- Group Show, Crafted Strangers, Centre for Craft, Creativity and Design, USA (2017)
- Fashion Show, Giving Life, Western Canada Fashion Week (2017)
- Costume Design, Divine, Storefront Theatre (2017)
- Artistic Direction, ÅTERSTÄLLA Collection, IKEA Canada (2017)
- Costume Design, Munschtime!, Young Peoples Theatre (2017)
- Group Show, Indian Giver: Truth Telling and Narratives of Representation, Gallery 1313 (2016)
- Group Show, The Mending Lounge, Craft Ontario (2016)
- Speaker, What is Art? “Culture, Creation & Consumption", Walrus Talks – Walrus Magazine (2016)
- Group Show and Fashion Show, FashioNative, Woodland Cultural Centre (2014)
- Wardrobe (Character: Weesageechak), Wakening by Danis Goulet (2013) (Opening short film a the Toronto International Film Festival)
- Group Show, Friday Night Live – Indigenous Arts, Royal Ontario Museum (June 2013)
- Solo Show, Synaptic City Wearable Art Show, Harbourfront Centre (August 2012)
- Fashion Show, Synaptic City Ready-to-Wear, Gladstone Hotel (2012)
- Fashion Show, End of Summer Ready-to-Wear Vignettes, Oz Studios (2011)
- Group Show, (Re) Representation, Art Gallery of Ontario (May 2009)
- Wardrobe (Character: Miss Eagle Testickle), Robin’s Hood by Kent Monkman (2006)
- Key Wardrobe, Divided by Zero by Danis Goulet (2005)
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