In the Eye of the "Dancing Storm"
January 24, 2023
From broadcasting to publishing books and creating a successful fashion brand—Manywounds has done it all
By: Bashair Ali
What was once a dream has now become a full-fledged custom clothing business for Livia Manywounds, the creator of Dancing Storm Designs—an Indigenous haute couture fashion brand. The brand officially launched in 2021 and specializes in creating one-of-a-kind pieces that combine traditional Indigenous artwork with contemporary styles.
Manywounds is a member of the Tsuut'ina (Dene) and Siksika (Blackfoot) Nations — located in what is colonially known as Southern Alberta. Her traditional teachings and practices allowed the display of her culture and heritage through her wearable Indigenous art.
CBC Calgary News
Indigenous fashion designers gaining recognition on international runways
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While sitting at her mother's bedside, Manywounds got back into beading. After her mother died, she continued her art as a form of healing.
Manywounds said her work started to become popular online through social media, and she began to receive many orders. She credits those who supported and bought her early designs in helping her get to where she is today.
Indigenous designers getting to showcase their designs on the runway is important for historical reasons, Manywounds said, especially after the residential school system tried to rob Indigenous communities of their cultures, languages, traditions and beliefs.
"It's not a costume. It's something more special than that because it has meaning behind it. It has purpose. It has a story."
The Toronto Star
These Indigenous fashion designers are changing the game
Art, activism, connection and healing — meet Evan, Livia, Janelle and Dusty By Laura deCarufel The Kit Fri., June 17, 2022
How would you describe your design approach?
“My focus is to tell significant stories through my designs about my ancestors and bringing that to life. My ancestors would write on buffalo robes — and through symbols they would tell stories of their achievements as a tribe, milestones, war battle victories or directions like a map. My creations — appliqués, beadwork and digital designs — do the same thing. They tell my stories, my interpretations of my culture, my people and my family.
Sweetgrass is a medicine that purifies and cleanses. I think that’s what has helped my people be resilient is staying connected to the traditional medicines and practising with them every day. I think that’s just something that speaks for itself as the most commonly used medicine of Indigenous people. It’s just something that we use to feel grounded. It’s a connection to Mother Earth.”
The Globe and Mail
On the Tsuut’ina Nation, fashion designers are connecting with roots and reclaiming Indigenous identity
Indigenous designer, artist, crafter and horsewoman Livia Manywounds, of the Tsuut’ina Nation in Treaty 7, has combined her passion with her roots
SARAH B GROOTSPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAILPUBLISHEDJULY 22, 2021UPDATEDJULY 23, 2021
Livia Manywounds, an Indigenous designer, artist, crafter and horsewoman, creates one-of-a-kind formal wear from her family ranch on the Tsuut’ina Nation in Treaty 7. She learned to sew in junior high school and was accepted to fashion school in New York, but was unable to attend because of funding.
Her creativity was reignited a few years ago when she became a caregiver for her mother after a cancer diagnosis. “I needed something to do because I had to take time off work,” she says. “I brought out my beads and my needles and started beading and then I started sewing.” Manywounds set herself up by her mom’s bedside and immersed herself in her art. “I started posting things online and soon enough I started getting orders.”
It was during this process of caregiving and creating that Manywounds discovered a path that combined her passion with her roots. She found herself digging in deeper about her history, about who her ancestors were, their stories, the symbolism and the traditions that were passed down. “I like to incorporate where I come from,” she says, carrying on the legacy of her grandmother’s beading and sewing and her grandfather’s designs.