Left to right: Nakuset Sohkisiwin, Cree from Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6; Brooke Rice, Kanien'keha:ka of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy; Kahsennanoron Two-Axe, Mohawk from Kahnawake; Marra Phillips, Mohawk from Kahnawake; Nakha Bers, Dene, from Southwestern Northwest Territories; Shyann White, Mohawk from Kahnawake
Wearable art inspired by nature
Katrin Leblond has teamed up with renowned Métis visual artist Christi Belcourt on a collection of clothing and accessories for everyday, and every body.
The Belcourt x Leblond Collection features Belcourt’s Bee Print and celebrates our sacred relationship to the natural world. Surrounded by flowers, the bee in this artwork captures our attention and reminds us of our duty to address a planet in crisis.
Like the bee, the production values of this collection reflect the ethos of ‘small is beautiful.’ The fabrics are all manufactured in Montreal and every garment is cut and sewn in Leblond's Montreal studio.
About Christi Belcourt
Belcourt is a celebrated visual artist who works in a variety of media - from paintings, to beadwork, jewelry and textiles. Her work is permanently installed in The National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Parliament Hill, among others. She is also known for her community art projects and her environmental and advocacy on Indigenous People’s lands and rights. Belcourt has done past fashion collaborations with Valentino and Holt Renfrew. Learn more at christibelcourt.com.
About Katrin Leblond
For twenty years, Leblond’s work as a designer and boutique-owner in Montréal has been guided by ethical practices in design and manufacturing. All her materials are locally sourced, from fabrics down to thread and zipper—all sewn and produced by local workers in Montreal’s vibrant fashion sector, requiring less fossil fuel for transport and supporting the local clothing / fabric industry. Learn more.
Why a collaboration?
Leblond approached Belcourt about a collaboration because she admired her advocacy as much as her artwork. “It's inspiring to see someone who deeply and publicly acknowledges her activism in her artwork and her public persona. I find that very courageous. She is doing things her own way, both in and outside of the system. It’s given me permission to see how I’ve also made decisions in my business that connect to my values, even if they’re not necessarily profitable decisions,” she explains.
Belcourt and Leblond were determined to make this new collection accessible to all body sizes, ages and budgets. “Something I've wanted to do for a while is fabric design,” Belcourt explains, adding, “I’ve always wanted to have pieces that I myself would want to wear. I am a plus sized person and am now 54. I wanted to be part of creating clothing that I would find accessible, comfortable and beautiful for all ages, sizes, shapes and occasions.”
Leblonds adds, “Fashion for me is about making wearable art. It’s a way to make art that’s affordable.”
Why a bee?
For Belcourt, the bee had to be the focus of this collection. “The bee was put in because I was stung 40 times this summer and I was reminded we have to pay attention to what's going on in the environment. The bee is a canary in the coal mine. The decline of bees is going to vastly affect food production in the world. Not just for humans but for animals, too. Without bees we don’t have raspberries or blueberries and, without those, what do the bears and the wasps have to eat? Bees sustain the world. Protecting the bees is not just for our own survival. It’s for the survival of the planet that we need healthy, indigenous, wild bee populations. This is something we need to turn our attention to.”
Supporting the Community
A portion of the sales from this collection is being donated to Nimkii Aazhibikong, a year-round, land-based Anishinaabeg language and traditional arts camp that Belcourt is actively involved in.
The designers’ personal picks from the collection
“I’m excited to wear the cowl neck tunic. I personally love ¾ sleeves and that neckline. And I’m always looking for clothing that will fit and flatter my body type and age.”
“The t-shirt is my favourite because it’s the one I'll wear the most and I really like the cut. We ran so many tests to get the neckline just perfect. I don’t believe most big brands put as much effort into making well-fitting clothing. It takes time, and money, to make clothing that fits well, that’s made well and will last a long time, that hopefully will get handed down, or recycled. Keeping a garment in activity is the best way to ensure its lifespan and reduce our environmental footprint.”