The U.K.-based fashion label KTZ’s fall 2015 men’s collection includes a number of garments based on traditional Inuit designs and a sweater that appears to be a replica of a shaman’s jacket, which one Nunavut woman says was used without her family’s consent.
“I was in shock, I was furious, I was angry,” said Salome Awa, who works as a morning show producer at CBC Nunavut.
“This is my great grandfather’s sacred garment copied right down to the tee.”
It’s the second year in a row that KTZ is accused of copying a garment based on an indigenous design. Last year it came under fire for allegedly copying a dress from Bethany Yellowtail, a Northern Cheyenne/Crow designer from Montana. Twitter erupted with support for Yellowtail.
“How dare you use this garment design that was visioned by my great grandfather,” said Awa. “It’s his design, his vision, it’s so meaningful to him.”
According to Awa the original design, from 1922, was envisioned by her great grandfather, who was a shaman, in a dream. Awa said her great grandfather had a vision of being drowned and created the garment with the help of his family to protect him.
“He wanted to make images of hands so when someone tried to drown him they would protect him,” said Awa.
A photo of Awa’s great grandfather, as well as his story is featured in the book Northern Voices: Inuit Writing in English. A replica of the garment was also displayed in the 2006 film The Journals of Knud Rasmussen.