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Fashion Report: Black Canadians Share Their Inspiration

Alvero Wiggins, Halifax-based photographer said the National Black Canadian Summit should have been called Halifax Fashion Weekend.

To learn more about the beautiful and vibrant clothing worn by the 1,200 Black Canadian delegates, we asked what inspired their clothing choices.

From cool comfort and bold prints to family and heritage, their responses were as colorful as their looks.

Oghenemine (Mimi) Jarekre

“I’m Nigerian and I love dressing up in traditional African clothing. This is one of my home prints – I designed it and my family sent it to me in Toronto. I love it. It’s comfortable, it’s easy. With white sneakers and a white bag, I’m ready. It’s pretty, chic and simple.

Oghenemine (Mimi) Jarekre is CEO and Founder of Redeem Clothing Recycling, a company that aims to improve recycling behaviors in Canada. (Alvero Wiggins)

Josh Creighton

“I had to come dressed prepared: all black, blackout, to pay homage to the ancestors.”

Young black man with rust colored hair and beard wearing a black suit.  Standing in front of two paintings on easels.
Josh Creighton is a Community Engagement Specialist from Uniacke Square in Halifax, NS. (Alvero Wiggins)

Favor Nzeribe

“I’m an entrepreneur and I like to look really cool but at the same time simple.”

Dark-haired black male, smiling broadly, hands in pockets where a peach-colored button-down short-sleeved shirt and white pants
Favor Nzeribe is a business marketing student from Toronto. (Alvero Wiggins)

Dahabo Ahmed Omer

“My mum inspired my fashion. My mum is a wonderful woman, her sense of style is beyond measure, and she really dressed me up. I bought all of this in Dubai when I went on a trip, so that’s all my mum here, everything.”

Black woman with pink and beige headscarf, light pink jacket and pink pants carrying black handbag
Dahabo Ahmed-Omer is the executive director of the Black North Initiative in Toronto. (Alvero Wiggins)

Blessing Owowa

“I’m wearing one of my two summer pieces. It’s very comfortable around your body and lightweight for hot weather.”

Black woman wearing colorful headscarf, with black polka dot shirt and shorts on white.  With a bold black and white design around the waist.
Blessing Owowa is the founder of DB Pearlz, a one-stop Afrocentric fashion brand for men, women and children, based in Halifax. (Alvero Wiggins)

Aaron Sardinia

“I connect to my ancestry with this beautiful traditional shirt. It was given to me by an elder in our community who is from Kenya, and I’m so grateful. I have the Jordans, I’m picking up the Jordans. I know it’s owned and operated by whiteness systems but you gotta keep it fresh I’ve got the colors jumping on the right foot to honor Pride Month so I’ve got a little touch of pink there Shout out to black communities who identify as gay I have jewelry from family and friends.

Young black man with curly hair to below his ears making the peace sign, wearing a black and gold short sleeve shirt, black pants and white and black Nike shoes with pink laces in a show, sneakers black laces in the other.
Aaron Sardinha is the Youth Program Coordinator for the Black Cultural Society of Prince Edward Island. (Alvero Wiggins)

Camille Georges

“My fashion inspiration is Solange Knowles. I was going for ‘casual chic’. I’m often the youngest in spaces, and I like to challenge the formal fit. I like to mix a blazer with trainers, also shorts because it’s summer and we don’t have so many months to enjoy it. I like a pop of color, I like a statement.

Young black woman with long hair braided in dreads, with a black top and a short skirt with a thigh-length pink jacket and pink and white running shoes
Camille Georges works at McGill University on the action plan to combat anti-black racism. (Alvero Wiggins)

Dena Williams

“The vibe I was looking for was ‘luxury for the culture’: something a little more classy but also involving the culture. I have this bandeau, I’m not directly West African, but closely linked to many members of the culture. For my shoes, I have Vans, and these are actually limited editions where Vans collaborated with A Tribe Called Quest, one of my favorite hip-hop groups, very instrumental in the culture black music and black music. I wanted to bring those two things together.”

Black woman with long black hair, some in a bun, with a black dress and a long denim jacket with frayed ends and sporting a yellow handbag and black and white running shoes
Dena Williams is owner and founder of Vitamin D Entertainment and event director of Summit After Dark Youth, Halifax. (Alvero Wiggins)

Funmi Odeniyi

“I feel like home today, so I had to represent how I feel. Every day my dressing is a representation of how I feel, and I’m the one who feels like a queen.”

Black woman with an African print headscarf, with an African print long dress on the front and beige pointed shoes.
Funmi Odeniyi is the owner and founder of Michnat Fashion, an Afrocentric clothing brand where African prints are infused into designs to create a contemporary feel, based in Halifax. (Alvero Wiggins)

Drayton Mulindabigwi Jabo

“Generally, I’m not a big fan of fancy suits and cuts, but I feel like I’m in a company that’s considered professional. And I consider myself a professional, I’m a CEO! But coming to The Summit, I wanted to go for something really casual, fresh, swag and laid back.”

Young black man, short hair, wearing a royal blue shirt with red trim, light blue pants, black and white running shoes and a beige bag with a chest strap
Drayton Mulindabigwi Jabo is the founder of 20today20tomorrow in Ottawa. (Alvero Wiggins)
Five raised fists, each with a different colored skin, with the words "Being Black in Canada" next to them with a colored border
(Radio Canada)

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to stories of success within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds