Toronto’s longest running annual multi-arts fashion event Fashion Art Toronto (FAT) will return with a four-day in-person event at The Parkdale Hall (1605 Queen St. West). Taking place from Thursday, November 10 through Sunday, November 13. The 2022 event will host runway shows from 30 Canadian designers and feature fashion-inspired art installations. Our Faces of FAT series will take a deeper look at the faces behind FAT and their stories. Keep on reading to learn more about Lesley Hampton, a face of FAT on the designer side of the event.
Check out FAT’s Instagram for updates on the fashion festival.
Designer: Lesley Hampton
SC: Tell us a bit about yourself:
LH: I am a multi-award winning Anishinaabe Artist, Model, Speaker, and Designer focused on mental health awareness, body positivity, and authentic representation in fashion, media, and beauty. I am the founder and Creative Director of LESLEY HAMPTON, an Indigenous-owned, women-led, size-inclusive fashion brand based in Toronto, ON. In addition, I am a proud member of Temagami First Nation, and my identity is an amalgamation of my Indigeneity and my international nomadic upbringing as a ‘Third Culture Kid’, with my formative years spent in Canada’s Arctic and Atlantic, Australia, England, Indonesia, and New Caledonia.
Recently, Lesley Hampton has also been elected to join Global Citizen’s program as one of five Champions of Change. She is working together with Global Citizen to raise awareness of the systemic causes and impacts of extreme poverty and promote action towards ending it.
SC: What inspires you?
LH: I’m inspired by my community! Beyond the advocacy and artistic expression of my work, giving back to our community and building a more inclusive tomorrow are source of inspiration for me. Streams of giving include monetary donations, partnership-focused support, and mentorship opportunities. This includes internships with students from George Brown College and Seneca College; donations to organizations such as the Matriarch Movement (founded by Shayla Stonechild), Indspire, Native Arts Society, We Matter, Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; and The Lesley Hampton Award in partnership with the Ontario Mining Association.
SC: Tell us the story behind your brand/ art.
LH: Through my work and community activations, my aim is to decolonize euro-centric standards in the fashion industry, inspire the next decade of Indigenous leaders and entrepreneurs, and create space for empowerment and representation in fashion, media, and beauty.
SC: What’s one piece of advice you would give someone starting out in your field?
LH: Balance all the aspects of your life and prioritize your mental health. I always say my business won’t thrive unless I’m thriving.
SC: What do you love most about FAT?
LH: I love the combination of artistic expressions that come together at FAT, not only from the designers and showcasing artists, but also from the attendees. Everyone has something to say and stand for with their designs. FAT2015 was the first runway showcase I went to and found my fashion community. For FAT2016, FAT founder Vanja mentored me on our inaugural collection.
SC: What does 2023 hold for you?
LH: I have been accepted to participate in the inaugural Indigenous Fashion Arts Trade Program in Milan, Italy. This event, happening February 2023 is strategic in increasing our brand awareness internationally. We hope to meet with prospective partners and hundreds of global buyers attending Milan Fashion Week and White Milano.
Last modified: November 3, 2022