Chloë's Response To The Community

Over the past several weeks, there have been concerns brought forth that take issue with ownership of my company, misrepresentation of Indigenous art and grant applications. I have listened to all concerns with an open mind and with my privilege firmly in check. I have consulted with Indigenous leadership and I’ve reflected on all of the input both positive and negative.

It is important for me to speak my truth and clear up all misgivings, concerns, or misinformation that has arisen, in hopes of honest and heartfelt work towards reconciliation.

The Company 

I am a Non-Indigenous person who happens to be married to a Metis man and Chloe Angus Design is our family business.

More importantly, Chloё Angus Design works in a transparent, honest, and full collaboration with Indigenous artists from across Canada. The mandate of the Spirit Collection is to support and celebrate Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples working together.

This would not be possible without our Indigenous artist collaborators, Clarence Mills, Wade Baker, Corrine Hunt, KC Hall, Debra Sparrow and Jay Bell Redbird, and a passionate team of talented men and women — workers, artists, collaborators, clients and friends from a variety of backgrounds — all joining together to bring the Spirit Collection to life and help us create, build, sell, and promote it.

All artist work is licenced, and 10% royalty is paid on each piece produced. The artist information, bio, and artistic vision/meaning behind the art they created, is attached to each garment. The art always remains in ownership of the artist and they are free to withdraw their art anytime. Artists approve their work before the collection is finalized to ensure their work is represented appropriately.

All of our products are made in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territory with heartfelt consideration for our environment.

The Creating, Knowing, Sharing Grant

The Creating, Knowing, Sharing Grant
In 2018, Chloё Angus Design applied as a group collective, with our Indigenous partners, to showcase the Spirit Collection at Canada House for the opening of London Fashion Week in London, England. Along with other Canadian designers (Indigenous and Non-Indigenous), we had been invited to London Fashion Week by the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) with the High Commission of Canada and the Canada-UK foundation to the Canadian Designer Showcase event at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, to showcase our Fall/Winter 2019 collaborative project: The Spirit Collection.

Canada Council for the Arts, has a program under their Creating, Knowing, Sharing fund for supporting collaboration between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous artists. Please see the following information below from the Canada Council for the Arts website, included website link below for more information (as stated this information and the complete grant application was provided to CBC prior to the news story). 

““This program supports Indigenous individuals, groups, Indigenous-led arts organizations and arts/cultural sector development organizations that foster a vital and resilient Indigenous arts ecosystem.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups and organizations may apply to Creating, Knowing and Sharing (or to the other 5 Canada Council programs) for funding for artistic and cultural activities. Canada Council stands by Indigenous artists through a variety of programs and initiatives, such as {Re}conciliation. This program functions using a self-determined, Indigenous-centred approach. This means that it will be guided by Indigenous values and worldviews, administered by staff of First Nations, Inuit and Métis heritage, and assessed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals.

Collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, that are led by Indigenous artists/organizations are encouraged and facilitated in Creating, Knowing and Sharing.”

Canada Council for the Arts website

The collective sent four people, two Indigenous and two Non-Indigenous, to attend the event. The total cost to Chloë Angus Design was twice that of the travel grant and every penny given by the Canada Council for the Arts was spent on travel costs and shipping of the Spirit Collection, as defined in the grant application. That detailed application was vetted and approved by an Indigenous led board of the Canada Council for the Arts. We did not make any money on or from this trip, but were able to fulfill the mandate of sharing indigenous art on an international fashion stage.

To clarify once more, I have NEVER applied for any grants as an Indigenous business or have taken any funds meant for Indigenous companies or artists.

I hear you and understand the anger and frustration so many people feel regarding this issue. I acknowledge, and sincerely apologize, for the anxiety and stress this misunderstanding has caused. 

Continuing The Conversation: 

We have taken this opportunity for learning and growth and continue to aspire to allyship and reconciliation. We will continue to listen and receive your feedback, in order to utilize it in our ongoing growth. We are continuing to listen in order to apply the lessons learned.

We understand you may still have questions and we want to be open and transparent about everything we do. Please send any further comments and concerns to us directly at the following email. We will respond to all messages received.

To further continue the larger conversations at hand, we would like to start with the following:

  • Reconciliation through allyship
  • The future of collaboration between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people in the retail space
  • Sharing space, continuing to offer Indigenous artists a platform for the growth of a living culture and economic reconciliation

These ongoing conversations are extremely important to us and are part of a much larger and more important conversation if we are to live together in this very small world.

Our plans to continue these ongoing discussions are in the works, please check back with us soon. 

I do not claim to have any of the answers but I believe our collective voices and conversations can begin to break down the barriers that keep us apart and allow everyone to have a say in how to move forward towards a positive future for all. 

Chloë Angus