Dorothy Grant

When you purchase a design from Dorothy Grant, you’re buying wearable art. This was once the verdict of a leading Vancouver-based fashion journalist. And with clients such as Robin Williams, Peter Coyote, Marie Osmond, Richard Thomas, Minister Jane Stewart, Grand Chief Phil Fontaine and “Arctic Rose” Susan Aglukark the critic was obviously on to something. Ms. Grant, a Kaigani Haida, has been at the forefront of the Aboriginal design industry since the early 1980s. It was then, nearly two decades ago, that Ms. Grant decided her ancient culture could be melded with couture. Local, national and international fashion circles have embraced her creations. Her strong connection to her people’s past and sense of First Nation identity are the driving forces behind her fashion labels Feastwear and Dorothy Grant. Her Raven Creation Tunic was part of the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 86 and now is part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s permanent collection along with her Hummingbird Copper Panel Dress. Other creations are part of the collections of the National Gallery of Canada. The Smithsonian Institute and the National Museum of the American Indian asked her to donate a piece for a fundraising auction at which her Raven Creation Tunic captured the highest bid at $8,300 in American dollars. On her own, she opened the Dorothy Grant Boutique in Vancouver in 1994. After two years of sweat and struggle, sales are expected to top $500,000 this year. A role model for the young and a success story for all Aboriginal people attempting the life of an entrepreneur, Dorothy Grant was a 1999 National Aboriginal Achievement Award recipient in the Business and Commerce category.