Two-spirit joy shines bright at New York Fashion Week as La Loche teacher models for Cree streetwear designer

Prairie Pride is a series by Local Journalism Initiative reporter Julia Peterson that celebrates queer life in rural Saskatchewan.

When Jazz Moise gets dressed in the morning, the world is his runway.

With bright patterns, vibrant sparkles and big, dangly earrings, the La Loche, Sask., substitute teacher finds joy and confidence in his clothing, expressing his creativity and two-spirit identity with every outfit.

Earlier this month, Moise took his love of fashion to a much bigger stage: New York Fashion Week.

“Being on the runway was a thrill,” said Moise. “I had a straight face, of course. I had to look fierce. But right when I stepped on the runway, I saw the crowd, and people were cheering. It was just surreal.”

Moise was one of the models representing Scott Wabano, a two-spirit Indigenous fashion designer whose genderless clothes showcase and celebrate Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ identities.

“I had never imagined myself being a model,” said Moise. “I’ve only ever enjoyed fashion. I love dressing up; I love expressing myself. But seeing that there was an opportunity, I said ‘oh my gosh. This is my shot.'”

Wabano, who is Mushkegowuk from Moose Factory, on the west coast of James Bay, with Eeyou-Eenou family roots from the Quebec Cree Nation of Waskaganish, aims to challenge colonial binaries, likeĀ gender terms brought on by early settlers.

For Moise, walking that runway in Wabano’s flowing silk outfit was a chance to represent two-spirit excellence and be the role model he had wanted while growing up in La Loche.

Wabano and models posing for red carpet at New York Fashion Week
On the red carpet, from left to right, Scott Wabano, Haley Robinson, Braydee Cardinal, Kay, Mina Linklater, Kairyn Potts, Shanese Indoowaboo Steele, Jojo Jackson, Jazz Moise, Michelle Chubb, Kentsieno:ron – Steven Thompson, Mandy Gull-Masty and Owen Uhruh. (Submitted by Scott Wabano)

As a child, Moise recalls,

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