International Indigenous Fashion Week begins today in the Queen City, and Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway is taking part.

“It’s an opportunity to bring together all these fashion designers from across the country and internationally,” she said.

The Regina fashion designer owns Tatanka Boutique, where she specializes in First Nations designs.

She began her design journey by making costumes for her kids for Halloween.

“At the beginning, it was really rough designs, based off their clothes and sometimes outfits didn’t turn out that way I thought they would,” she said.

Much of her inspiration is derived from her Indigenous heritage where clothing is designed with precision and care.

“In this fast-paced modern world, with everything being this fast fashion, people maybe just need a reminder that we have this past and that we should honour it,” BigEagle-Kequahtooway said.

Although she has been designing clothing for 20 years, it was opening Tatanka Boutique that gave her the courage to begin calling herself a fashion designer.

“I used to only design for my friends and family and it was always free. So having the boutique and being able to exchange funds for some of my designs was a new venture for me,” she said.

The boutique encouraged her to challenge her boundaries and take on new ventures.

The International Indigenous Fashion Week event runs Saturday and Sunday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Regina.