KELOWNA – Jill Setah’s dream to share her passion for First Nation culture in the fashion capital of the world is almost a reality.
A First Nations clothing designer living in Westbank, Setah has shown her work in New York and at Style Fashion Week in Los Angeles.
To Setah however, Paris has always been the dream. She came close this spring but her husband was severely injured at work and she began caring for her three nieces and nephews. Setah and her husband have four children of their own.
“I was trying to get (to Paris) in March but everything fell out from underneath me,” she says. “We pulled through but I had to cancel my trip. When I reapplied to go again they had raised the entry fee from ($2,200) to ($4,600).”
A $5,000 grant from First People's Cultural Council now barely covered the entry fee, so Setah is trying to raise $2,000 to cover other expenses like a hotel.
Oxford Fashion Week in Paris begins Sept. 28 so Setah is feeling the pressure.
“It’s like I have three full time jobs, fundraising, being a mother and trying to sew on top of everything.”
Her unique designs are always evolving but often inspired by West Coast First Nation art.
“It will be elegant and sexy, a collection of lace, solid colors like bright red and I’d like to do a piece to bring attention to the missing and murdered aboriginal women of B.C.,” she says. “I love showing my First Nations culture and to be able to go to Paris and show it is out of this world.”
To help raise the money she needs, Setah is hosting an Indian taco luncheon at the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
An Indian taco, she says, is made with hot bannock, ground beef “and all the fixings of a taco.”
She has also set up a GoFundMe page.
“I booked my flight early before my husband got hurt so I had to pay the bigger entry fee,” she says. “There is no turning back at this point.”
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