Room spoke with the founder and editor-in-chief of Urban Native Magazine, Lisa Charleyboy for upcoming issue 37.1: Fashion, Trend and Personal Style. Lisa also founded the online shopping site ShopIndigenous.ca.
ROOM: Blogging since 2007 (Urban Native Girl Stuff or UNGS) what do you find most exciting about blogging and publishing in an online space?
LCB: For me writing is all about discovery, reflection, and understanding. The great thing about writing my own blog, is that I’m able to explore anything that might interest me, so I have the option of researching, and reading about topics that greatly captivate me in that moment. I’ve used the blog a lot to be able for me to reconnect with my First Nations heritage and culture to greater understand what that means in a modern context.
ROOM: In your work advocating for First Nations people, what drew you to focus on the fashion aspect of culture?
LCB: Fashion has been a great love of mine since a very young age. After high school, I left home and moved across the country to attend Ryerson University for Fashion Communication at 17 years old not knowing a soul in Toronto. I have always been attracted to the industry, despite the turns in my career that have taken me down different paths
ROOM: In your view is it possible for fashion be feminist? Or culturally inclusive/sensitive?
LCB: Some would argue that it’s hard to be a feminist and be a non-Caucasian woman given the historical contexts and general lack of communication between cultural groups in the feminist community. Fashion is an entire other layer that is also worth discussing. I identify as a feminist and I also love fashion, but the industry is certainly not without its problems. I took an active stance early on in my fashion industry days to be cognizant of the type of representations in fashion images that I am a part of creating. That decision shaped my career to shift from fashion to writing, as I realized that becoming more embedded in the magazine structure (than say a hired stylist), would enable me the stronger voice to speak out about creating images that are demeaning to women and be able to influence more healthy and positive images being generated and put forth.
For more of our interview with Lisa, pick up your copy, out on shelves soon!
Issue 37.1, Fashion, Trend, and Personal Style was edited by Taryn Hubbard and Nailah King. In this issue, we explore if fashion could be feminist and the issue includes an interview with fashion model andCanada Reads (2012) participant, Stacey McKenzie, cover art by Cathy Daley, and a long poem by poet Elizabeth Bachinsky and more! Don’t miss our issue launch in Vancouver, March 8th!
post by Christina Cooke and Nailah King
In honour of Black History Month, Room highlights some amazing female black Canadian writers. This list is certainly not an exhaustive one but these are some of our favourites.
Dionne Brand (b. 1953; Trinidad and Tobago)
Widely known for her 2006 novel What We All Long For, Brand has penned numerous fiction, non-fiction and poetry titles - such as the poetry collection Inventory, a personal favourite here at Room. Issues such as race, migration, queer desire and patriarchal oppression often recur in Brand’s work, all couched within the breathtaking beauty of her prose. Formerly the Poet Laureate of Toronto and a current Professor of English at the University of Guelph, Brand’s work is a definite staple for any Canadian feminist’s bookshelf.
Shani Mootoo (b. 1957; Ireland)
Mootoo rose to critical acclaim following the 1996 publication of her novel Cereus Blooms at Night. Since then, Mootoo’s written two other novels and a poetry collection, in addition to her extensive visual art exhibitions and video screenings. A recommended favourite here at Room would be The Predicament of or, in which Mootoo chronicles her cultural anxiety and racial displacement stemming from being born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents then later relocating to Canada in her mid-20s. It is her unabashed willingness to write within these critical intersections of lived experience that makes Mooto’s publications so invigorating, so necessary. If you haven’t already, definitely add her work to your “to-read” list.