Monday Inspiration: Dorothy Grant
As a true, born-and-bred, Vancouver-ite of some twenty odd years, I understand how sometimes, if you happen to find yourself staring at the same cement highway, taking the same bus, working the same job, eating the same take-out; there can be too much of a good thing. You may need to get away. I call this the “Vancouverite Blues”.
Now, such symptoms include no longer appreciating your windy city. You may find yourself restless, sleepless, not in Seattle but in Seachelt. You may wake up in Whistler one morning and feel like the lifestyle of partying and hair-of-the-dog beers are just too routine and regular. And when you lay in your Yaletown loft, you may want to “Yale” from the rooftops.
Well, honey, you are not alone.
And the first step I took to fix my fear of seeing more of the “Vancouverite Blues” was with a big ol’ glass of red. Then, because I have such a strong and steady relationship with Vancouver, for such a considerable amount of time that I can’t help but realize all relationships take time and effort and TLC, I did what any man would do in my situation; I turned on the TV.
Now, I have always been a big believer in “signs”. I always wanted to live my life with a purposeful naivety that makes me believe maybe every now and then, the universe will send me a gentle nudge to tell me a gentle truth.
So the TV turns on, the screen fading fast from a digital black to pixelated colours. Out surges a static, electric zap of inspiration. I felt sparks. It was Dorothy Grant.
I found Dorothy Grant so inspiring for two very inspiring reasons.
The first being, that this Canadian designer, born in Alaska as a true native of the Kaigani Haida Clan, gave so much thanks and honour to her roots while I was complaining about my own. After graduating from Helen Lefeaux School of Design in 1988, Dorothy Grant never looked back. She finds an endless source of inspiration from her culture and maybe, realizes with her fashion designs mainstreaming Haida culture into emerging fashion markets and onto a global runway, somethings are more important than whimsy. Sometimes, a strong, consistent, cohesive message makes the loudest noise. Sometimes, fashion designs are not just clothes but a modern and smart way for preserving traditions and culture.
The second reason why Dorothy Grant inspired me was because she was so unapologetic. Dorothy stuck with her guns and decided this is the path she was going to walk in. Even though, maybe it was not a golden brick road, she designed her own shoes and strutted in her own direction. That pride for her art, for her culture, for who she is, is nothing less of commendable.
On a Saturday night in, in the midst of my argument with Vancouver, Dorothy Grant stepped in and told me: “To thy own self be true.”
She honours her traditions in such a way where you instantly feel a respect, a prestige-ness to her clothes. They are no longer just a coat or a dress but a vessel for a statement. Her clothes, marked with specific sacred symbols of animals like Killer Whales, Two-Headed Ravens and Brown Bears all tell 10,000 year old tales preserved and passed on from generation to generation.
So, it took a Dorothy and a dress to make me make up with my man, Vancouver.
It took a woman who had no question in her pride for where she comes from to make me realize I should respect and honour my life and my roots. It is so much more when a dress does not just impress but inspires. It is like a shoe with more soul than sole.
So, maybe, I may need inspiration again for an Inspiration Monday. But it took turning the TV on to realize: NEVER take anything for Grant-ed.
With love and inspiration,