Dusty Legrande proudly represents his designs during the Otahpiaaki fashion exhibition. (Brendan Flaskay/CMRU.ca)
The annual Otahpiaaki fashion exhibition is back at Mount Royal University, sporting fresh new faces.
Dusty Legrande is just one of those faces with designs that artistically blend both past and present. The Indigenous clothing designer focuses on the streetwear aesthetic while paying homage to his Cree roots.
Dusty Legrande became a designer when he witnessed firsthand a “disconnect from culture” in Indigenous youth. Residential schools, misinformation, and biases have all fueled a generation that, he believes, yearns for connection.
Legrande’s assortment of hoodies, jean jackets, and beanies all bare the face of his message: unity.
This idea of unity is simple yet strives to serve as a foundation for a better future. It only scratches the surface for what Legrande hopes to accomplish through his designs.
Legrande wants to spark a movement that heals past community trauma while sharing his culture with the greater population. When asked what about the specifics of this vision, he said he aims to bring back identity through clothes, teachings, and perspective in order to positively impact society.
The weeks leading up to the launch of his business, however, left Dusty torn. He thought a capitalist society would fuel cutthroat practices. To his surprise, Dusty says he was met with a generously supportive community.
Other Indigenous and non-Indigenous artisans resonated with Legrande’s message, choosing to encourage him rather than take away. This foundation has led to the inspiration of many of his works and continues to be a supporting role in the brand’s life.
Otahpiaaki is live at Mount Royal University from November 5 till November 9, 2018. You can find Dusty Legrande and his work during the week on Mount Royal University’s main hallway, making a change through his designs.