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Every Design Tells a Story...

Beadwork by Kaylyn Baker, Tlingit Artist, Kaylyn Baker Designs


Here at Unorthodox, we’re always mindful and trying our best to celebrate authentic Indigenous art, not appropriate it. We listen to the Indigenous artists we work with and make sure the products in our store can be worn by anyone. It’s important that the artists’ work is respected, valued and worn appropriately.

We appreciate – and trust – the authenticity of the artists we work with. 

For non-Indigenous purchasers of Indigenous artwork and jewelry, it's important to know the story of the piece and to understand the concept behind it – the colours, patterns and materials used. It all comes from a bigger picture, a bigger story. 

I think when you share those stories, you are honouring the artist and their vision, and ultimately passing that learning along to others.

Wear & Share Backstories

Knowing the story behind each piece and sharing that knowledge with others radiates respect and helps build awareness and understanding across communities.


Tradition meets expression

Indigenous sewing and beadwork is storytelling. It is inspired by ancestry, cultural identity, nature and story — and personal, artistic interpretation.


Culture and nature

The landscape and materials it provides, from hide and quills to the inspiration behind the colours of beads or thread are all rooted in the artist’s experience.


One bead at a time...

Designing and handcrafting authentic Indigenous jewellery and fashion is an act of ceremony. The sharing of its story fosters harmony and connection between its creator and the recipient.


Handcrafted, one-of-a-kind

The authenticity and quality of the materials along with the time, knowledge and skill the artist puts into each piece makes each one a valuable piece of art.

I like to make different pieces and different styles so anyone can wear them. It should be worn by everybody. And I feel like that's what beadwork is all about. It's wearable art that's been created by people here in the North. When I put it on, it makes me feel stronger and beautiful and a part of the person and their story is with me. And I'm hoping when people wear what I make, they feel the same way.

– Bobbi Rose Koe

Recognize Appropriation

Appropriation is when a non-Indigenous person mimics Indigenous cultural practices, art or craft for profit without consent, permission, or any cultural relationship to the item or practice. Many “Indigenous” items for sale in non-Indigenous owned tourist shops, art galleries and museums across Canada are knockoffs that have been appropriated. Cultural appropriation also includes the ways in which Indigenous stories, history and traditions have been repurposed, told and sold in popular culture, as costumes, and in the media — without their involvement or consent.

Appreciate Authentic

Truly appreciating Indigenous works honours the person and the culture behind them. Take time to learn about the Indigenous artists and where they are from. Know that if they are selling a piece, they want you to wear it. Sacred items and regalia have great cultural significance and should not be purchased or worn without explicit permission. Purchasing authentic Indigenous goods supports Indigenous people taking back control over how cultures and stories are represented. It also ensures that our artists and communities receive the economic benefit they deserve.

The saying “nothing about us without us” calls for the inclusion of Indigenous voices in any conversation around Indigenous lives, culture and practices.

– Destination Indigenous, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)