The Fur Council of Canada (FCC) announced last week the winners of their 2021 National Fur Design Competition, which this year includes two Inuit designers, Erica Joan Lugt and Olivia Chislett. Twelve students’ designs were selected from entries across Canada based on three fur garments that each submitted, chosen based on their innovative fur use and the design concept that best projected “the future heritage of fur.”
Lugt is an artist from Tuktuyaaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT, best known for her beaded creations, which she sells under the line She Was A Free Spirit and has previously exhibited at Indigenous Fashion Week in Toronto and Paris Fashion Week in France. She also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Inuit Art Foundation from 2019 to 2020.
Chislett is a throatsinger and designer from Iqaluit, NU, who currently works as a music teacher in Iqaluit. Her designs feature a sealskin crop top and skirt co-ord set with matching facemask.
Erica Joan Lugt’s designs for the National Fur Design Competition (2021) Courtesy Fur Council of Canada
In addition to Lugt and Chislett, the winners are Austin Bergeron, Etienne Levi, Hannah Walkes, Prudence Mekonge-ekwele, Vishali Sitharthan,Yassine Touati, Chesley Jussaume, Vincent Domingao, Raven A. Scott and Carson Feng, who will all receive travel, accommodations and a weeklong intensive fur design workshop at Ryerson University in Toronto.
“I know once I am there I will thrive,” said Lugt about the opportunity via email. “ Working with fur, whether sewing, cutting or visioning sends a wild feeling throughout me so I am excited to see what the program has to offer and to connect to my roots creating modern fashion with fur that is warm, modern and perhaps sexy.”
This year’s judges included international model and spokesperson Stacey McKenzie, celebrity stylist Shea Hurley and Indigenous designers Sage Paul and D’Arcy Moses, and was coordinated by the FCC in cooperation with the Fur Institute of Canada and the Seals and Sealing network.