aaniin

This might be Toronto's hottest fashion brand right now

One of the city's hottest clothing houses promoting Indigenous culture and language is also hosting a special fashion showcase for Truth and Reconciliation Day.

aaniin, which means hello in Anishinaabemowin, is an Indigenous-owned and operated fashion house creating, designing and selling unisex and gender-neutral t-shirts, sweaters, hats and more located in Toronto's STACKT Market.

Started by Chelsee-Marie Pettit, her brand unapologetically promotes Indigenous syllabics on everyday pieces, which are often sold out.

The whole story of aaniin can be traced back to a 2021 stroll in downtown Tkaronto when Pettit saw someone wearing clothing with symbols on it.

Immediately (and from a distance) Pettit thought they were looking at Indigenous syllabics, though it was just a triangle.

"But I will never forget how excited I was in that moment when I thought I saw, for the first time in my life, that the language was being casually used," she said in an Instagram post. And thus, the birth of aaniin.

One of their shirts called '94' repeats the statement "gichi apiitendaagoziwag akina abinoonjiiyag" in syllabics representing the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation report.

A QR code is included on the t-shirt to see the syllabic translation (every child matters) and to learn more about each call-to-action.

Other pieces from aanin include the best-selling Tkaronto t-shirt and sweater which symbalizes the meaning of the city's name, a Mohawk word for 'where the trees are standing in the water;' socks with the brand's name and totebags created in collaboration with artist Luke Swinson featuring a blue heron (zhashagi in Anishinaabemowin) and a bear (makwa). 

Since taking up shop at the STACKT Market since June, Pettit says business has been very "good and consistent." She tells blogTO that aiiniin started as a streetwear brand but that she is pivoting the shop to be more of an Indigenous marketplace. 

Working with 20 other Indigenous artists and brands, Pettit says everyone is benefitting when customers come to purchase. 

For Sept. 30's Truth and Reconciliation Day, aaniin is hosting a special fashion showcase featuring nine indigenous fashion brands from the GTA and three musical performances.

It's being sponsored by STACKT and will also serve up some delish Indigenous fusion eats from Wiisinidaa.

Ticket sales will help keep up aaniin's storefront as Petitt looks to renew the lease in the next coming months. 

Musical performances and a one-hour fashion show begin at 5 p.m., while a special VIP Vendors Market goes from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m

Tickets are still available but sizes for the included orange t-shirts are quickly running out. It is encouraged that everyone who attends wears orange clothing. 

Lead photo by

aaniin


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