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Indigenous designer making her mark on the global fashion scene

Indigenous fashion designer Lesley Hampton is making a statement – on and off the runway – with her show-stopping pieces that promote inclusion and diversity.

“Fashion has such a direct link to our mental health and our body image,” Hampton said.

Hampton founded her line of size-inclusive athleisure and evening wear in 2016.

“I really grew up in the fashion industry with all these micro-aggressions and stereotypes being applied to me as a curvy, Indigenous person.”

In an effort to shatter those stereotypes, Hampton is challenging the status quo in the fashion industry with her designs and fashions shows.

“It’s so crucial that we’re able to see bodies like ours take up space in the fashion industry.”

At this year’s Fashion Art Toronto event, Hampton dressed teen model Monika Myers, who became the show’s first-ever model with Down syndrome.

“She was an absolute showstopper,” Hampton said. “To see Monika really walk the runway and come into her power was just so exciting, and to have that confidence at such a young age was so great to see.”

The designer’s Canadian couture is turning heads and attracting some high profile fans – including pop star Lizzo, who posted a social media video of her wearing Hampton’s athleisure wear.

“I started to get tagged on a bunch of Instagram posts and it was Lizzo wearing our work.”

Lizzo is pictured wearing Lesley Hampton's athleisure wear in an Instagram video. (Instagram/Lesley Hampton)

In addition to the celebrity praise, Vogue magazine named Hampton the No. 1 Canadian designer to watch.

Having grown up in St. John’s, N.L., Hampton says expressing herself through creativity was something she learned early on.

“My great aunt taught me to sew when I was four, and my mom was a quilter, so I always had a space in my home to go and be creative and have that creative outlet.”

Her creativity will soon be showcased on an international stage.

“We’re starting our new collection in 2023, and we’ve been invited to show with the Indigenous Fashion Arts organization in Milan, Italy.” Top Stories

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