On a grey morning with rain spitting down from the dark clouds, April Tawipisim stands in the window of her Portage Avenue storefront next to a mannequin wearing a yellow dress decorated with flowers of blue and green, an eye-catching blur of colour to the traffic speeding by.
The dress took real work: painstaking, careful work. The kind that not just any sewing machine can do. The kind that requires knowledge just as much as technique. A kind of work that takes time and a bit of belief.
For Tawipisim, who earlier this summer started Turtle Woman Indigenous Wear, which sells handmade jingle dresses, ribbon skirts and shirts, and other contemporary attire inspired by Indigenous cultures, getting here has taken years, decades even. A life.
“When I want to do something, I have the vision of it,” she says.