Oki! Welcome to Otahpiaaki 2019: Winter Counts -  

A Celebration of Story, Visual Expression, and the Year of Indigenous Language.

From November 5th - 9th, 2019 we are honoured once again to welcome a host of Indigenous fashion designers, artists, musicians, and performers to showcase and celebrate Indigenous Beauty in all of its forms. Otahpiaaki 2019 is a week of couture, streetwear, and modern regalia on the runway, in standing showcases that guests interact with, workshops, performances, screenings, and language projects. Indigenous Beauty, Fashion, and Design week is anchored by deeper research on Indigenizing the runway, design in nature, capacity-building, and economic reconciliation based on creative practices and traditional teachings. Su'kapi!


Designers participating in Otahpiaaki events are required to provide the following:

  • New Collections: Designers are asked to provide collections of 12 new pieces that have not previously been shown at Otahpiaaki to the production team three weeks prior to the show date so that all fittings and styling information can be compiled in advance of their transfer to the runway back-of-house.

  • Custom Looks: If desired, designers are welcome to provide their own accessories to each look they are showing. Accessories must be attached to the hanger of the intended outfit in a labeled bag during the fitting. Any accessories added after the fitting are required to be brought backstage by 2pm, and added by production staff. Styling will otherwise occur with accessories provided by other accessories designers reviewed and invited to the showcase.

  • Collection Sales: Designers are to inform the Otahpiaaki team if they will be selling pieces of their collection from their standing showcase/off the runway. In all instances pieces should be held until end-of-showcase on Saturday November 9th, 2019.  

Designer Initials ________


Otahpiaaki will provide event preparation services for designers as a part of showcase services whether standing or runway:

  • Styling: PARK will provide all runway styling services for each collection.

  • Fitting: PARK will ensure all model fittings will occur prior to the show.

  • Garment Preparation: PARK will ensure that all collections are ready for the show (i.e., steamed, ordered, organized for show run).

  • Dressers: PARK will provide designers a team to be backstage at the show to ensure everything is running smoothly and all looks are put together as envisioned.

If your practice involves being back-of-house, please advise the runway director(s). While we welcome your presence and small final adjustments, under no circumstances can major changes be accommodated nor should the designers be making changes to the racks during show call/run. Keep in mind that back-of-house is also a learning environment where first time hires and volunteers, many Mount Royal University students are participating in a high pressure environment. Respect, kindness, and generosity are relational accountabilities highly valued throughout the process.   

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PARK will be responsible for supplying designers with models for the standing and runway programming. Each designer will have a fitting opportunity with the models to advise which model is in each look. We have both professional and new models incorporated into our showcases, our new models come from our local community call which is open to all Nations, ethnicities, students, identities, and body diversities.

NOTE: PARK reserves the right to change and make final decisions on model selection should it interfere with show logistics.

PARK will be responsible for partnering up with Hair and Makeup sponsors for the show, prioritizing Indigenous professionals. Looks for hair and makeup will be pre-determined by our hair, makeup and styling team. Changes to the beauty looks will not be permitted for specific designer sets.

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Models/talent will be providing their own basic wardrobe to complete the outfits. During the fitting PARK stylists will work with the models to put together the best outfit options to complete the looks. PARK will be providing additional wardrobe as well for more options. Please note that specific outfit requests may not always be possible.

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Each designer will receive their own standing showcase or runway set with their own music and choreography. Each collection will contain a maximum of 12 looks. At the end of each individual designer’s show, there will be a final meet-and-greet/photo opportunity (Standing showcases) and walk through and bow (Runway).

NOTE: If you are providing music, it must be in 1 MONTH (by OCT 1st) before the show so our DJ can incorporate into the show. If this deadline is not met, we will advise the DJ to prepare a set music for your collection. Note, in the case of duplicate tracks, first set to arrive will be used. We suggest having 1-2 substitutes prepared.

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Backstage access to all Otahpiaaki shows is restricted to individuals with the Designer or Team credential. Additionally, please consider participating in a designers walk out at the end of your collection for a wave and to provide a face to your brand.

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Fittings will be hosted by Otahpiaaki on the afternoon (1pm-3pm) of the showcase date. While designers may choose to opt out of fittings, once fittings are complete, no changes (--with few exceptions) will be permitted. If you are unsure about whether to attend, we recommend you do.

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We are only able to resource and contract with agencies for talent runway participation vs. commercial use of images. So, any photographs taken by yourself, a photographer, or from an official event photographer at Otahpiaaki fittings and fashion shows can/must be used only on social media platforms unless you seek permission. We encourage you to do so...most are willing and thrilled to be featured elsewhere. When doing so, it is customary and respectful to credit the photographer, the models/talent, modelling agency, etc... Event photos cannot be used as a banner image, website image, or in catalogues, look books, campaigns, or any other marketing materials without seeking consent from the model/modelling agency and photographer. The Otahpiaaki event and date should also be included and we appreciate being notified, so we can boost your posts or projects. Please advise us if you wish to bring your own photographer. These photos must still follow the above guidelines with the talent and their agency. Photographs taken at Otahpiaaki are copyright of individual photographers, models, and modeling agencies, and any permission to use the images and likeness of models must be approved by their agency. Otahpiaaki cannot be liable for copyright infringement. We do encourage seeking these permissions as most are received very favourably.

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Guidelines for honorarium at Otahpiaaki/Mount Royal University are set by Elders in the area. Honoraria are gifts provided to respect and recognize sharing or exchange that takes place or that has taken place among the Blackfoot and other First Nations, Métis, and Inuit guests to these territories. Honoraria along with other gifts from Otahpiaaki are given at the closing ceremonies/upon departure from programming that you are involved with. We are very fortunate that our honoraria also align to CARFAC artist rates ($310 per 4 hours or $ 546/day). However, it is essential to complete honorarium paperwork in advance of your arrival for this to occur. In the absence of paperwork submission, your honorarium will be delayed 6 weeks.

Please discuss this with Patti Derbyshire pderbyshire@mtroyal.ca if you have any questions.

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As per the Post Secondary Act of Alberta, local mileage is limited to arrival in the city of Calgary from your home community within Alberta. If you are in an adjacent Nation, please consult about whether you’d prefer to drive or fly. We will do the best to meet your preferences. As with all costs, sooner is better for lower fares and to manage our budget for all involved in a successful program. For those parties outside of our region, flight arrangements will be made by Mount Royal University staff. Once agreements are made/flights booked, changes to are the sole responsibility of the designer/artist, including costs or fees.

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Otahpiaaki’s is proud to maintain a commitment to finding comfortable and convenient accommodations for guests to Mohkinstis. We achieve this through a combination of smaller boutique hotels, Air BnBs, and on campus accommodation. We can co-house you with other artists that you may be collaborating with, which helps us balance the budget we have to work with and our invitations to the number of designers, artists, and performers coming to the program. Designers are offered accommodations based on these factors and their participation in workshops and in respect of showcasing their collections.

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Please discuss options for shipping your collections if you are outside of our region. In some cases, this is preferred to additional baggage fees which we cannot pre-purchase in many cases. If desired, shipping arrangements will be made by Mount Royal University staff. Plan to ship your collections the week of September 23, or so they arrive no later than October 1, 2019.

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Prior to the showcases, Spirit River Striped Wolf will lead our team, PARK, and a group of designers, artists, and performers through his research on trauma and its effects on relational accountability, xyz, xyz, and creative entrepreneurs. This session will also include a Q&A. We will invite you to one of three of these sessions, in person or via skype. Our goal is to have 100% participation and vision is that we all arrive from our unique locations already in relationship to one another!

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This is the fourth year of Otahpiaaki. Our Elders teach us that this is the year for iihpkim mootspi --passing on the teachings one has received. We are very excited to share what we have learned through a Call to Communities which will see the Otahpiaaki program transfer knowledge and support projects in Treaty 7 communities outside of Calgary, on Treaty 6 and on Treaty 8. One of our forms of support for these community showcases is to elevate your collections to these new enterprises. Please consider participating in one or more of these shows and be a part of iihpkim mootspi with us!

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Otahpiaaki has provided a checklist to prepare designers to be most successful in showcasing their collections.

  • Designers are required to share 12 new collection pieces

  • Music must be sent one month prior to the showcase date (by October 1 2019)

  • Collections are to be provided to the Otahpiaaki team one month to the showcase (by October 1 2019)

  • Collections to be shipped must arrive one month prior to the show date (by October 1 2019)

  • Fittings will be hosted by PARK/Otahpiaaki on the afternoon (1pm-3pm) of your assigned standing showcase or runway date.

  • Any additional accessories to finish the look of collections must be brought backstage by 2pm of show date to production staff.

Designer Initials ________

Designer Name: ______________________________________

Designer Signature: ______________________________________

Date Signed: ______________________________________