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Melissa Attagutsiak

Youth, Inuit (2022)

Iqaluit, NU

“I’ve always known my whole life that I wanted to work for myself, but it took a little while.”

Melissa Attagutsiak’s career exemplifies the importance of realizing and then following your dreams. While following another career path, she realized that her true passion was design – and so she embarked on her current vocation as an acclaimed multimedia artist and fashion designer.

She is the artist behind the brand Nuvuja9, creating Inuit-inspired garments and wearable artwork with sealskin, fox fur, leather, caribou antler, baleen, beads, and ivory. “Nuvuja” means “cloud” in Inuktitut, and when her clients wear her brand she wants them to feel as though they’re on Cloud 9.

Melissa is vocal about the traditional materials she uses and explains the vital importance it has to Inuit culture. Quoted in Fashion Canada magazine as “Splitting Hairs,” Melissa was also featured in Inuit Art Quarterly and Up Here magazine. Her work has been displayed at fashion and trade shows across Canada and internationally.

An alumni of EntrepreNorth’s Circumpolar Fashion Cohort, Melissa is currently enrolled in Nunavut Arctic College’s Fur Production and Design program learning traditional Inuit skills and contemporary design. Melissa felt it was important to go back to school to build onto her existing proficiency. Through her work, she feels connected to her roots in Nunavut, and hopes to instill a sense of confidence in those who wear her designs.