Red jingle cone campaign enlists designers to create pieces for MMIWG

A red jingle jacket designed by Lesley Hampton is part of a campaign to raise awareness about MMIWG and provide funds and support for family members. 

The campaign was organized by Anishinaabe Bimishimo Corporation, a business that manufactures and sells jingle cones — decorative metal cones and lids that powwow dancers sew on to dresses to make a jingling sound. 

Anishinaabe Mohawk fashion designer Lesley Hampton was asked if she would like to make a piece for the campaign. 

"I really wanted to do a contemporary take on the cones," said Hampton. 

Red Works Photography

Hampton is a Toronto-based fashion designer who has shown collections at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, Vancouver, London Fashion Week and the Santa Fe Indian Market.

She's known for incorporating all genders in her shows and uses her garments to spread awareness around mental health, body positivity and murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. 

"Within the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women girls and two-spirited people, the two-spirited part is often overlooked or never mentioned in the media," she said. 

"I really wanted this piece to focus on the two-spirit individuals that we've lost."

The piece that she created is a long sleeved loose fit bomber jacket. There are red cones from one arm to the other in a line across the back — a jingle jacket. 

Red Works Photography

Part of the campaign involved the designers choosing a charity to receive a portion of the proceeds of their garment. 

Hampton chose We Matter, an Indigenous youth-led suicide prevention organization.

Hampton said she believes designers have a responsibility to spread awareness around issues like MMIWG. 

"We are fashion designers who are given a platform of media or image-making," said Hampton. 

"It's so important for designers to always have a messaging behind what they're putting out there because it will end up either in a magazine or on a billboard and then so many other eyes are perceiving what you create." 

Dance for healing

The red cones were provided by Anishinaabe Bimishimo Corporation, owned by 19-year-old Émilie McKinney, and are meant to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women. 

The cones are used typically to adorn a jingle dress, which is regalia worn during powwows and ceremonies. 

"It's a ceremonial dress and it has a ceremonial dance which represents healing, so often when the jingle dress dancers dance, they dance for someone who is sick or ill in hopes they heal," said McKinney.

Four dressmakers from Canada and four from the United States agreed to make red jingle cone dresses and donate a portion of the proceeds to an organization that provides support for families of MMIWG.  

There are also four fashion designers who have incorporated red jingle cones into their own designs. 

Anishinaabe Bimishimo Corporation's proceeds from the sale of the cones will be going to Swan Lake First Nation Women and Men's Group, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre in Winnipeg.