Andean Dandeneau may truly be one of a kind. She talks of being about the only woman Metis, French-speaking fashion designer in the country.
Dandeneau, owner of Winnipeg based Voila Designs, exhibited her hand-made and eco-friendly fashions at Toronto’s One of a Kind Show from March 29 to April 2.
Exhibition Place was a smorgasbord of nearly 600 arts and crafts booths at the spring show. Dandeneau’s collection is Indigenous-inspired. “Everything that I make is organic cotton and bamboo,” she says. “We make everything in Winnipeg.”
She is from the French community of St. Boniface in Winnipeg. “We have a website (voiladesigns.ca) that showcases our products and the stories behind our prints,” she says.
“A Metis is the marriage of Aboriginal and French descendants of Quebec,” says Dandeneau, describing her heritage.
“A lot of my family is involved, my parents, my twin sister — my sister-in-law is the bookkeeper and my brother helps with the website,” she says.
“I discovered the love for fabrics, for texture, for design,” Dandeneau adds. She went to fashion school in Montreal and started her business in 2005.
“My dad being an artist, he started painting some of the pieces of my clothing line,” she says. “Since we were young he talked about our Metis heritage and how important it is to keep that alive.”
“We have a couple of Metis artists in Winnipeg that work for us,” she says.
Her fashions have been used by the Winnipeg Ballet and APTN/CBC tv series Stolen.
“I still believe that I am here to share a story and to create a product amongst anyone in the world through [an] Indigenous [perspective],” she says.