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#WesternFashion - Here Is How Tania Larsson Uses Beads To Tell Stories About Her Culture And Heritage

July 02, 2020 | by Iyin | 0 Comments

The link between culture and fashion is one that is not easily broken as fashion and culture go hand in hand. When a fashion brand infuses culture into its creation, it endears its customers to itself in a way that is both magical and beautiful.

By infusing materials like aso-oke into their collections to create bridal gowns or trendy everyday clothes, fashion brands can draw their target to themselves in a captivating manner. Asides using clothes to connect to culture, fashion brands can use items like bead to speaks to their heritage and that is exactly what the Tania Larson fashion brand did.

The Tania Larsson fashion brand is one that uses beads to tell stories about the heritage of its Gwich'in and Sweden Founder, Tania Larsson. The Tania Larsson fashion brand is one that designs "contemporary, northern Indigenous adornment based on Gwich’in culture, created with land-based materials." The fashion brand aims to make its indigenous audience feel a connection to its work through the inherent knowledge and aesthetic contained in blood-memory.

 What Makes The Tania Larsson Fashion Brand Unique?

The Tania Larsson fashion brand is one that uses natural items for its beadwork. In using these items, it combines modern-day fashion with an indigenous aesthetic to create a connection between the now and the then.

Owing to this combination, their beadwork can be worn with both contemporary fashion items and traditional fashion items, like the moccasins and wolverine fur-trimmed parkas the Gwich'in people wore of old, without looking out of place.

Most of the materials Tania uses in her designs are natural and ones that are gotten from the land which makes its wearer stand out. The idea behind the concept of each piece is to make its wearer "feel empowered within by carrying inspiring stories of Indigenous strength and beauty."

Materials Used By The Tania Larsson Fashion Brand

In the Tania Larsson fashion brand, most of the materials Tania uses for her jewellery are gotten from nature through subsistence hunting. Animals like the moose, muskox, and caribou are hunted to harvest their skin, antlers, brains, leg bones, and hair for use in the studio while the meat is shared in the community.

The skin, brains, and leg bone are used to make brain tanned hide which is in turn used as the base of most her jewellery pieces. This process requires a lot of physical work and can take up to two or three weeks to complete. When this hide is completed, Tania creates a pattern based on traditional techniques and designs, taught to her by several elders and friends, and then uses antique and vintage beads to decorate the hide.

The hair of the animal which is sometimes used to create a tuft is dyed before it is sewn unto the jewellery. The horns and antlers are used as pendants on the jewellery pieces after cutting, shaping, and polishing. 

All of these natural elements are incorporated with silver, gold, and precious stones to create a contrast of textures, colour, and materials. All the sterling silver hooks used by the brand are hand made by Tania herself. Through all the processes involved in making the jewellery pieces, no harmful chemicals are used. 

Tania Larsson and Giving Back To Society

Tania Larsson is the co-founder of Dene Nahjo, a nonprofit whose mission is to " advance social and environmental justice for northern peoples and promote indigenous leadership." Their vision is "Land, Language, and Culture Forever."

This nonprofit was founded after Tania moved back to her hometown in Canada and saw how indigenous women were treated without respect and seen as disposable. The nonprofit works towards advancing social and environmental justice for northern peoples and promoting indigenous leadership.

One of the first projects the NGO embarked on was a cultural revitalisation project that taught locals how to make traditional tools and how to tan hides. Other projects were the Circumpolar Women's gathering, which brought together women from all over and connected them to form a strong network, and rights of passage program for young teens.

By living, learning, and celebrating our culture on the land through the guidance of elders, we strive to foster emerging leaders, strengthen relationships, and create long-term, positive change in the North. - Tania Larsson

What's to Learn from Tania Larsson?

The Tania Larsson fashion brand is one that unashamedly celebrates its founder's culture and brings that one culture to the rest of the world. Tania Larsson is also one person that gives back to society because it is important to do so.

As fashion designers, it is important to remember that as you go ahead and forge your unique path in the industry if you need to promote your local culture do so boldly and unapologetically.

If your path is not one that promotes culture then you can as well give back to society in your way. All over the world, many people need someone to be a voice for them, it might as well be you.

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