There is something new this year at K’amba Carnival – a fashion show.

Yellowknife artist Dolly Martel, a member of K’atlodeeche First Nation who co-ordinates the Vendors Market at the festival, suggested the idea.

“Because there’s so much traditional fashion being made and people are shy to share or whatever,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Don’t be shy.’ Their stuff is gorgeous and there’s so much hard work that goes into making stuff. And I wanted people to be seen, be known for their work and hopefully get their names out there so they can start growing a business for themselves one day.”

The fashion show will be from 6-7 p.m. on March 7 before the Adult Talent Show at the Chief Lamalice Complex.

Martel believes the fashion show will add a lot to K’amba Carnival.

“If it goes as planned this year, I think next year it can only get bigger and better,” she said. “I’m hoping it can open doors for some people. It’s not just about promoting myself, but promoting other people. They create beautiful items, and they just put it aside and nothing comes of it. I want these people to be known.”

Traditional clothes – like this moosehide coat created by Emily McLean of Fort Resolution – will be featured at a new fashion show during K’amba Carnival. Submitted photo.

The clothes to be modelled will be mostly traditional with some contemporary items, such as coats, vests and dresses.

“I’m hoping that I’ll have a little bit of everything,” said Martel, who will be showing some of her own creations, such as coats and mukluks.

She expects the show will also feature the creations of artists from the Hay River Reserve, Hay River, Fort Resolution, Yellowknife, Fort Providence and Fort Nelson, B.C.

Plus, a woman from Fort Nelson is expected to teach young people how to model the clothes.

“She’s going to be teaching the young girls about self-confidence, how to walk the runway and just to lift up their spirits and empower them,” said Martel.

She is also hoping to have adults and elders model some of the clothes.

Martel plans to be the master of ceremonies for the fashion show.

“I’m kind of like a shy person, but I think I got this,” she said with a laugh. “It will be a lot of fun.”

It will be up to the artists whether their items in the fashion show will be for sale.

Martel noted that she is also creating a special item for the fashion show as a tribute to missing and murdered women and men.

“It’s going to be a surprise,” she said, although she noted that everyone knows she is working on it. “It’s going to be a stole/dress with a fedora hat.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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