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Meet Lesley Hampton: The designer bringing Indigenous fashion to the red carpet

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Lesley Hampton is an Anishinaabe fashion designer from Temagami First Nation. She designs for celebrities and advocates for inclusivity and mental wellness. (Image credit: Ken Townsend/CBC)

Published 2024-06-11 06:00

Anishinaabe designer wants to inspire next generation

Lesley Hampton grew up around sewing machines.

Her great-aunt taught her to sew when she was four, and her first project was a stuffed animal for her younger brother.

“I moved around a lot as a kid, and no matter where I lived, I always had a creative space in my house to play around with the sewing machine and get those creative juices flowing,” she told CBC Kids News contributor Sophia Smoke.

Hampton, who is Anishinaabe from Temagami First Nation in Northern Ontario, has taken her lifelong hobby and turned it into a successful career as a fashion designer and entrepreneur.

A woman wears a dark grey, metallic top and long silver earrings.

Academy Award-nominated actor Lily Gladstone wore designs from Lesley Hampton’s 2024 collection for a photo shoot in Variety magazine. Image credit: Lesley Hampton/Instagram

She has become one of the most respected names in the Indigenous fashion world and a go-to designer for Indigenous celebrities who want to shine.

Hampton is also a role model for the next generation of Indigenous people wanting to break into the fashion industry.

A woman stands on a red carpet wearing a sheer dress with white fringe.

Lesley Hampton designed this dress for Reservation Dogs actor Devery Jacobs, who wore it to the 2021 Emmy Awards. (Image credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Hampton said she hopes that the way she approaches business, fashion and inclusivity “is something that can inspire the next generation.” 

“And I really hope that the work that I’m doing and the connections that I’m building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people within the fashion industry, I hope that those connections lay the format for other Indigenous youth who want to grow in the fashion industry to see themselves represented.”

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About the Contributor

Sophia Smoke

Sophia Smoke

CBC Kids News Contributor

Sophia Smoke is a Grade 11 student from the Dakota Plains First Nation in Manitoba. Her Dakota name is Anpetu Waste Ihinape Win, ‘There Is a Good Day Coming.’ She is a jingle dress dancer and passionate about the revitalization of Indigenous culture.

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