The Brand: Decolonial Clothing
What is Decolonial Clothing?
Decolonial Clothing is an Indigenous owned and operated clothing company based out of Turtle Island also known as Canada. Decolonial Clothing launched their business in early 2020, after rebranding from their former clothing company. As of November of 2021, Decolonial has been printing all of their products based out of their warehouse in Burnaby, British Columbia. Since taking production in house, Decolonial Clothing has shipped orders all over the world, been displayed in several Netflix series, featured in top magazines, articles and news broadcasts, has been supported by several well-known actors and musicians and partnered with several organizations for community support.
Who is Decolonial Clothing?
Decolonial Clothing is owned by Dakota Bear and Casey Desjarlais. The couple is originally from Treaty 6 Territories, born and raised in Saskatoon, SK. Dakota Bear is Nehiyaw from Witchekan Lake, and Casey Desjarlais is Nehiyaw and Anishinaabe from Fishing Lake.
Shortly after moving to Vancouver, the two received news that they were expecting a baby. They began to seek out community. Growing up in the inner-city of Saskatoon, the two became very accustomed to the hardships of the urban Indigenous population. They are both survivors of the intergenerational effects of residential schools, as both their grandparents had attended. They knew the importance of breaking cycles and creating a better future for their children and future generations.
They began to participate in the local rallies and protests, fighting for justice for Indigenous rights. They connected spiritually with so many individuals and learned from so many inspiring activists and leaders. They became heavily involved in the organizing efforts behind the rallies and protests held across Vancouver, such as the Global Climate Strike with Greta Thunberg, Black Lives Matter Freedom March, Cancel Canada Day 2020 and 2021, and #ShutDownCanada. They co-created many different movements such as Protect our People and the Resistance Campaign, both movements had simultaneous running rallies hosted in major cities across Canada. With collective efforts from Indigneous People across Turtle Island, known as the #LandBack movement, they actually managed to “shut down Canada” by blocking major transportation routes, trains and pipeline construction work. This was a joint effort to raise awareness and get national attention the the destruction of Mother Earth, colonial violence to Indigneous peoples and front line land defenders. These movements sparked something in them both.
They took this same energy with them as they rebranded their business to Decolonial Clothing Co. Bridging activism and decolonization, they design bold and meaningful clothing to spark that same change in others. Reflecting back on their journey, from writing their business plans on broken iPhones with no data, screen printing t-shirts in their 2-bedroom apartment, and selling hoodies out of their backpacks and local marketplaces, they’ve come a long way.
Dakota Bear and Casey Desjarlais are well-known activists, artists, performers, organizers and entrepreneurs. They are now operating a fully-staffed warehouse, printing and shipping hundreds of orders weekly and building community through clothing and music.