'It reaffirms that I'm on the right path': Inuvialuit fashion designer wins $7,000

Christina King, a fashion designer and artist in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. (Submitted by Christina King - image credit)
Christina King, a fashion designer and artist in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. (Submitted by Christina King - image credit)

An Inuvialuit fashion designer and artist in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., took home some big prizes recently.

Christina King, known by her Inuit name Taalrumiq, won three awards this year at the Pow Wow Pitch competition.

It's a contest for Indigenous entrepreneurs in North America to help them grow their businesses. Taalrumiq is also well known in the social media world. She's made a name for herself by sharing her Inuvialuit culture and identity on Tik Tok, where she has about 105,600 followers and has received about 1.8 million likes on her videos.

"I was actually really surprised, because when I first submitted my initial video entry this summer, I was really nervous, thinking, 'Well, is this right for me? Like, am I worthy, am I even a real entrepreneur?'" she said.

King creates original Inuvialuit couture garments and accessories.

"I'm using the same traditional materials that my ancestors used, that my Inuit grandmother, my Gwitch'in jidu — the same materials that they used, the same skills, talents, passion, and I create contemporary versions of our traditional clothing, and couture jewlery."

King first made it in the semi finals of the Pow Wow Pitch contest, where she made a one-minute pitch and ended up as a runner-up in the fashion category, granting her a $1,000 prize from the Aritzia Fashion Grant.

She said she was able to leverage her social media following and get fans, along with her family and friends, to vote for her in the People's Choice Award, which got her into spot in the finals and another $1,000.

In the finals, she won an alumni award, which is worth $5,000.

"I'm still processing it, it's actually really wonderful. It reaffirms that I'm on the right path, you know, professionally speaking," she said.

"It's really amazing to have this kind of support and to have won these prizes. And this recognition just shows that people value the work that I'm doing and what I'm putting out there and believe in me enough to support me."

King also creates original Inuit fine art and currently exhibits across Canada in various galleries. She said she's working on a "huge" commission piece for later this year.

She also creates short format videos — often educational, sometimes fun, she said — and posts them to popular social media apps like Tik Tok and Facebook.

"I have a lot of fun doing the videos," she said. "I don't get paid to do it. It's just something I enjoy and another form of creative expression."