Based in Iqaluit, NU, seamstress, jeweler/beader and designer Melissa Attagutsiak is the creative force behind the fashion label Nuvuja9 (Cloud9 in Inuktitut), which features her original jewellery and garment patterns using traditional materials such as sealskin as well as textiles such as knits and lace. Notably, Attagutsiak’s label was featured during International Indigenous Fashion Week in Paris in March 2019. There she met fellow designer Victoria Kakuktinniq and the two collaborated soon after in Iqaluit on the UPINGAKSAAQ Fashion Show in April 2019.
Other projects Attagutsiak has been involved in include Seal Day on Parliament two years running 2018/2019 and a trip to Scotland and Norway with the Circumpolar Crafters Network in 2019 intended to promote the sustenance seal hunt and commercial use of seal products. During several months in 2019 Attagutsiak worked on the glass qajaq project SIVUNIKSATTINU, on permanent display at The Ottawa Hospital – General Campus. Attagutsiak completed the Amausiurniq Program in January 2020, where she learned to sew her own Amauti with the guidance and knowledge of Inuit Elders. Notable figures who have worn Attagutsiak’s pieces include Charlotte Qamaniq of music duo Silla and Rise, Inuk artist Aasiva and the late pop music artist Kelly Fraser.
This Profile was made possible through support from the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Project.
Sealskin Bodices (2019)
© THE ARTIST
Iji earrings (2022)
© THE ARTIST
Tuktu Steak with Tunnuq necklace (2021)
Caribou antler and labradorite earrings (2023)
Tufted 24k gold beaded earrings (2022)
Sealskin Shawl and Seal Leather Skirt (2018)
PHOTO IPPIKSAUT FRIESEN © THE ARTIST
PHOTO PAT KANE © THE ARTIST
Caribou antler earrings (2022)
Nuliajuup Atajunga (Sedna’s Dress) earrings (2023)
Sealskin top and Baby Polar Bear earrings (2019)
Nuvuja 9 at Upingaksaaq Fashion Show, Iqaluit, 2019
PHOTO MARIANA B. LANE
Inuit artists showcase their creations at ITK’s Ottawa marketplace, 2019