Annie Demcheson poses Thursday at the Elders Qammaq with her fur after winning first place in the garbage bag parka competition. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Coman)

Elders show off their skills in garbage bag parka competition

Annual event held as part of Toonik Tyme festivities in Iqaluit

By David Lochead

Iqaluit elders showed off their parkas Thursday, but there was something unusual about these garments: they were made out of plastic.

Elisapee Sanpudlat walks with her blue and white garbage bag parka. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Coman)

The garbage bag fashion show, an annual Toonik Tyme event, packed the Elders Qammaq with vamping contestants and cheering spectators alike, with judges deciding the winners.

Annie Demcheson came in first and won a fur as a result. Her design was an orange amauti, which she said was inspired by the amautis her mother and grandmother wore.

Second place went to Elisapee Sanpudlat with a blue and white garbage bag parka while Geesapee Kanayok came in third with an orange creation.

Kanayok said she didn’t expect to see the Qammaq as full as it was when it was her turn to take on the catwalk.

“It’s fun,” she said.

“Next year I plan to participate again if I’m up and well.”

Elders started making their parkas on Monday. This was a change from last year, where the contestants had one day to create their parkas, Kanayok said.

Making clothes out of garbage bags creates a unique set of challenges, said Demcheson. She said it’s important to be mindful of the tape because of how sticky it is, but the cutting is easy because the plastic is soft.

“You really have to be thinking about the material,” she said.

Sanpudlat said her plastic boot nearly came off because it was not secured well enough with the Scotch tape she used.

Geesapee Kanayok is all smiles in her orange garbage bag parka. She took part in the elders garbage bag parka competition Thursday, an annual Toonik Tyme event. (Photo by David Lochead)

Moatee Maatiusi, who works at the Elders Qammaq as a supervisor, praised the effort the elders put in to make their garbage bag parkas.

“It was awesome,” Maatiusi said.

“They’re very creative.”

Victoria Coman, the City of Iqaluit’s special events planner, was also there to take in the show.

“I’m honestly surprised at how well [the parkas] looked, considering they are garbage bags,” she said.

Coman said Demcheson taught her how to sew when she was in middle school.

Next year the plan is to bring out sewing machines and make actual parkas.


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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by How about that on

    When camping we used to pull garbage bags over us but they sure didn’t look that good.

  2. Posted by Susan Savikataaq on

    So happy for Annie and her younger sister Geesapee. Very creative and talented sisters. Annie is one amazing inspirational woman. She taught me her sewing skills. My eldest grand daughter too was very fortunate to have her as sewing instructor. Happy Toonik Tyme Annie Demcheson and niece-in-law Geesapee Kanayok and all of Iqalummiut. See you next month.

  3. Posted by Northerner on

    Inuit should make rain coats inspired by our traditional clothing. Am I right? Or am i right?

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