project passion

Art and Activism with Designer Lesley Hampton

June 21, 2021
Team Knix

The second limited edition Papaya Box is launching June 23rd, and it’s full of amazing surprises. A first for Knix, we’re so excited to include a limited edition scarf created by the brilliant designer Lesley Hampton.

Featured everywhere from Vogue to Lizzo’s TikTok, Lesley’s brand is focused on mental health awareness, body positivity and authentic representation. Indigenous owned, women led, and size inclusive— Lesley’s changing the fashion industry as we know it. We’re honored to include her design in the Papaya Box II and can’t wait for you to meet Lesley Hampton. 

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📸Lesley's earrings: Niio Perkins Designs, Lesley's Scarf: Designed by her for the Papaya Box II

Hi Lesley! What inspired you to start designing? 

I grew up as a Third Culture Kid (I lived in 8 cities across 5 countries before my 18th birthday), but with every move my mom always made sure we had a craft room as a creative outlet space. So creating something beautiful was always my way of processing my emotions and learning about my identity. I take that knowledge with me today in my career with each design or collection, and it allows me to dive deeper into self discovery while pushing for change in the fashion industry.

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Your art and your advocacy go hand in hand. Why do you think fashion is such an important outlet when it comes to activism? 

Our fashion choices are so innately intimate with who we are, and what we choose to put onto our body has such a high level of storytelling attached to it. As an artist and designer, I create work to help individuals feel comfortable telling these authentic stories with what they wear and the confidence to thrive in their passion. 

How does your work help to represent and reclaim power? 

As an Indigenous owned, women led, size inclusive brand, I am honoured to take up space in the fashion industry. With this platform, we also have the responsibility to push for representation of all bodies in the fashion space to truly reflect the beautiful diversity of society. For us, we have and will continue to increase representation in runway and high fashion in Canada, just like Knix has done in the commercial space. 

The equal parts excitement and calmness I feel seeing my body represented in a Knix ad on TV, is the same power I want to provide to the youth watching my designs on the runway. Celebrating with collaborations like this one with @thebirdspapaya is another great way to continue to reclaim this power. 

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What (or who) are some of your biggest influences lately? 

Travelling is my biggest influence when I'm looking for creativity. Whether it was hopping on a plane (pre-pandemic), or discovering a different part of the neighbourhood that I live in, I'm very inspired by seeing how people work, play, heal, and grow.

This month is Indigenous History Month. What are some ways we can help support Indigenous creators in June and beyond? 

Supporting Indigenous means increasing education every month, not just for June. I'd recommend reading the Calls to Action within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to see where you can implement change for the better.  

What are some of your favorite small Indigenous businesses? 

So many! We've recently worked with Niio Perkins, Second AuraIndi City and Scott Wabano! My daily go-to's for accessorizing are Tania Larsson, Warren Steven Scott, and Cheekbone Beauty. You can read and learn more here.

Miigwetch! (Thank you!)

Check out all of Lesley's work here, and mark your calendars for June 23rd to snag Lesley's limited edition print scarf in the Papaya Box II.