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Fashion Forward

September 1, 2021 - December 11, 2021

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Opening Reception Friday September 3, 7-9 pm.  

Predicated on systemic violence and a vulnerable workforce, patterns of imperial and colonial extraction, domination, dehumanization and wealth hoarding between the Global North and the Global South continue to echo across time and space throughout the garment supply chain. Environmental racism and racialized gendered capitalism are designed to flourish without accountability at every level throughout the garment supply chain. This exhibition turns its gaze towards the practices of artists, fashion designers, activists and cultural heritage craft masters who look to the past to re-imagine the future of fashion. Through their practices, they illuminate our deepest knowing, nourish interconnection, collective power, biodiversity, and love toward building a collective practice that turns the wheels of systemic change in Fashion Forward.

We invite you to join us in person for the opening reception on Sept 3, from 7-9 pm. Please read our COVID protocols HERE. You won't need to pre-register, but we will ask you to download a screening questionnaire on arrival. Since our capacity is limited, there might be a little wait to get in although we don't anticipate it.


Two accompanying texts were written for this exhibition.  Look Back to Move Forward by Kavita Parmar can be read HERE, and Fashion Forward by curator Hitoko Okada can be read HERE.



As part of Fashion Forward, we invite you to engage with the issues raised in the exhibit through these accompanying programs. Click on the programs for more information.

Carceral Labour and Sweatshop Abolition Panel Discussion
Friday September 17, 2021
7pm EST/ 6pm Central/ 4pm PST
Online on ZOOM

Please join us for a lively Zoom panel discussion, Carceral Labour and Sweatshop Abolition, with Hoda Katebi of Blue Tin Productions, Marissa Nuncio of the Garment Worker Centre and Homework4Health, a garment worker from the Garment Workers Center (TBD), moderated by Minh-Ha T. Pham. Pre-registration is required for this free online event. Please register HERE.

Wash 'n Care Workshop
Facilitated by Meera Sethi
Thursday, October 21, 2021
online on ZOOM

Join artist Meera Sethi in a free artist talk and workshop, Wash ‘n Care, that explores the artist’s three-part, research-based body of work, Unskilled, and a participatory demo of her Wash ‘n Care labels. Pre-registration is required for this free online event (open to anyone, anywhere!). Please register HERE.

Guided Exhibition Tour
Saturday, October 2, 2-3:00 pm
In person, Maximum 20 participants

Join WAHC's Programming and Exhibition Specialist Sonali Menezes for a free guided tour of the exhibition Fashion Forward. Pre-registration is required for this free in-person event. Please register HERE.

Sage Paul Artist Talk with SHAE

Artist Sage Paul leads an artist talk for students from Strengthening Hamilton Aboriginal Education (SHAE). This event is for SHAE students only and is not open to the public.



Aboubakar Fofana is a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose working mediums include calligraphy, textiles and natural dyes. He is known for his work in reinvigorating and redefining West African indigo dyeing techniques, and much of his focus is devoted to the preservation and reinterpretation of traditional West African textile and natural dyeing techniques and materials. Born in Mali and raised in France, Fofana's work stems from a profound spiritual belief that nature is divine and that through respecting this divinity we can understand the immense and sacred universe.

Hoda Katebi is a Chicago-based Iranian-American writer, abolitionist organizer, and creative educator. Her political fashion work has been hailed from the BBC to the New York Times to the pages of VOGUE and featured and cited in books, journals, and museums around the world. Hoda is the host of #BecauseWeveRead, a radical digital book club and discussion series with 25+ chapters globally; founding member of Blue Tin Production, an apparel manufacturing workers co-operative run by working class women of color setting global standards in labor and sustainability.

Kavita Parmar stumbled into the fashion industry right out of high school and as they say about people who love what they do, feels like she hasn’t worked a day in her life. In 2010 she started the IOU Project, creating the hashtag #whomademyclothes. The IOU Project documented and put online over 250 master craftspeople in Madras India and was a pioneer in using technology to turn Supply Chains into Prosperity Chains. Kavita has won many awards for her work and does consulting work for clients like NIKE, and Levis. She frequently speaks on Sustainability, transparency and traceability in the fashion industry and is based in Spain.

Meera Sethi is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose affective, research-based practice explores the body, dress, garments, and materiality from critical, feminist, and anti-colonial perspectives. She engages drawing, painting, fibre, illustration, and performance to think through migration and its relationship to fashion, care, embodiment, and self. Meera's work is in the permanent collection of the Royal Ontario Museum and the Wedge Collection and has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Mississauga, and the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival among other venues. 

Sage Paul is an urban Denesuliné tskwe based in Toronto and a member of English River First Nation. Sage is an award-winning artist & designer and a recognized leader of Indigenous fashion, craft and textiles. Her work centres family, sovereignty and resistance for balance. Sage is also founding collective member and Artistic Director of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. Some of Sage’s art and design has shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday among other venues. Sage sits on the Ryerson School of Fashion Advisory Board and is developing an Indigenous Fashion elective course for George Brown College. 

Hitoko Okada is a fibre artist, community arts organizer and curator currently living in Hamilton, Ontario. She began her social practice as a community arts organizer and facilitator twenty years ago in her hometown in East Vancouver. Since then she has programmed community-based art festivals and art-based workshops including workshops for community-led campaigns.  As a fibre artist, Okada has publicly presented textile-based installation work since 1999. She is currently developing a research-based body of work exploring the history and ancestral knowledge of cultural heritage craft of Japanese indigo, kakishibu dye, and shifu weaving, supported by the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council of the Arts


WAHC wishes to acknowledge the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton, the Province of Ontario, CUPE, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs.

For more information, please contact Sonali Menezes, Programming and Exhibitions Specialist, at (905) 522-3003 ex. 29 or sonali@wahc-museum.ca.


Logos for the Province of Ontario, The Ontario Arts Council, The Canada Council for the Arts, CUPE, and the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario


51 Stuart Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8L 1B5       905.522.3003       Public Hours: Click here