Cultural identity is an important component in one’s life, it’s a characteristic in which you can never break free, therefore you must forever learn to embrace it. Loving who you are can be difficult at times, however once you accept who you are the rest comes as easy as a piece of cake. This designer embraces who she is and where she comes from, she openly enjoys hunting, salmon fishing, and attending traditional ceremonies with her community. We live in a world with such fear of showing who we really are, that is an unfortunate and frightening aspect. It’s refreshing to see an individual being open about their culture and better yet succeeding for doing so. She represents her cultural aspects beautifully through her designs, sharing her love of who she is and the challenges she faces as she takes on the world with her head held high.
Jill Setah is a First Nations Designer from the Tsilhqot’in Nation, meaning Chilcotin. She is Yunesit’in Government that is within the Tsilhqot’in Nation. She tells us that being Yunesit’in means being proud of who you are and where you come from, being able withstand the struggles. No matter what the obstacle, she continues to stand tall with pride for who she is. Jill first found her love of design when her son needed a traditional outfit to dance in our traditional pow-wow circle. She made his first outfit by hand, steadily sewing every last thread and creating something one of her own. Jill immediately fell in love with this craft and saw herself doing this as a career, no longer at an ‘as needed’ basis. She wanted to create her own designs with twists of her own cultural background for all to indulge. As a working mom of five, it was hard to commit to a fashion school, but with some help of her close friends and family she persevered and has now successfully made it to the runways of Paris.
“My life has not been easy, but I am still here” – Jill Setah
Her collection named Living My Dreams is exactly what it sounds like, Jill is definitely living her dreams! She is the only First Nations Indigenous Designer to showcase her latest collection in Oxford Fashion Studio’s Paris Fashion Week. Her designs feature traditional patterns and wondrous colors that can beautifully complement every woman and her best features. These past few months have not been exactly smooth for Jill, in fact a ton of hiccups have tried to halt her in her tracks. As a mother and a designer, balancing life is a lot harder for her. She is continuing to do everything on her own while her husband works. Yet, these hardships do not stop her, she goes on with pride. Life and love are intertwining, both lie within her work and homelife. As a local designer she has made headlines. As a brand, she will travel the world showing her unique designs to all she encounters. As an individual, she will grow for years to come sharing her beautiful culture with open arms and a heart of gold.