Local First Nations fashion designer aims for Los Angeles stage

Westbank mother Jill Setah is trying to raise enough money to show her clothing line at a major Los Angeles fashion show this fall.
Image Credit: Contributed

WEST KELOWNA - A First Nations clothing designer living in Westbank has been invited to take part in Style Fashion Week in Los Angeles this fall.

Jill Setah, a member of the Chilcotin First Nation, has lived in Kelowna for the past ten years. From a young age she had an interest in clothing design but it wasn’t until her kids started dancing at pow wows and local gatherings that she decided to make clothing design her career.

“I made my first sons regalia by hand and when I started doing that I realized I wanted to go to school for this and get people involved in their culture,” she says.

A graduate of the Centre for Arts and Technology, Setah was able to raise the money needed to have her designs shown on a runway in New York.

“It was amazing,” she says. “To have that experience was mind blowing.”

Now Setah has set her sights on Los Angeles.

“It’s one of California’s leading fashion shows. Last year I was invited by one of the co-organizers but it was such a rush for me. I had to raise a couple thousand dollars in six weeks so I just kind of left it. He approached me again a few weeks ago.”

Setah says getting invited is one thing, paying for it is another matter entirely.

“To attend these fashion shows is thousands of dollars just for the entry,” she says. “I have four kids so that’s not exactly easy.”

A full-time mother and part-time employee of the Salvation Army, Setah has launched a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise $10,000 to cover the cost of entry and travel expenses. She believes her designs, which mesh traditional Native themes with modern touches, is a great way to bring her culture to the masses.

“Anybody could wear my clothes,” she says. “It’s not overblown First Nations, it’ll appeal to everybody.”

Setah is looking for donations of any items that can be auctioned off.

“I’m determined and willing to do anything to raise the funds,” she says. “If anybody can donate a dollar store gift basket, movie passes, wine tours, or anything like that I would really appreciate it.”

For more information on Setah’s designs or to make a donation to help get her to L.A., visit her GoFundMe page.

Image Credit: Contributed

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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