Fashion Forward and ¡Adelante Siempre!

at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre


Untitled (2021). Image courtesy of Hitoko Okada.

Fashion Forward

Aboubakar Fofana, Hoda Katebi, Kavita Parmar, Sage Paul, Meera Sethi
Curated by Hitoko Okada

September 1 – December 11, 2021
Opening Reception Friday September 3, 7-9 pm

Predicated on systemic violence and a vulnerable workforce, patterns of imperial and colonial extraction, domination, dehumanization and wealth hoarding between the Global North and the Global South continue to echo across time and space throughout the garment supply chain. Environmental racism and racialized gendered capitalism are designed to flourish without accountability at every level throughout the garment supply chain. This exhibition turns its gaze towards the practices of artists, fashion designers, activists and cultural heritage craft masters who look to the past to re-imagine the future of fashion. Through their practices, they illuminate our deepest knowing, nourish interconnection, collective power, biodiversity, and love toward building a collective practice that turns the wheels of systemic change in Fashion Forward.


As part of Fashion Forward, we invite you to engage with the issues raised in the exhibit through these accompanying programs. Click on the programs for more information.

Carceral Labour and Sweatshop Abolition Panel Discussion
Friday September 17
7pm EST / 6 pm Central / 4 pm PST
Online on Zoom

Please join us for a lively zoom panel discussion, Carceral Labour and Sweatshop Abolition with Hoda Katebi of Blue Tin Production, Marissa Nuncio of the Garment Worker Center and Homework4Health, and a garment worker from the Garment Workers Center (TBD), moderated by Minh-Ha T. Pham. Pre-registration is required for this free online event. Please register HERE.

Wash ’n Care Workshop
Facilitated by Meera Sethi
Thursday October 21, 6:30 pm
In person, maximum 20 participants

Join artist Meera Sethi in a free artist talk and workshop, Wash ’n Care that explores the artist’s three-part, researched-based body of work, Unskilled, and a participatory demo of her Wash ’n Care labels. Pre-registration is required for this free in-person event. Please register HERE.

Guided Exhibition Tour
Saturday October 2, 2-3:30 pm
In person, Maximum 20 participants

Join WAHC’s Programming and Exhibition Specialist Sonali Menezes for a free guided tour of the exhibition Fashion Forward. Pre-registration is required for this free in-person event. Please register HERE.

Sage Paul Artist Talk with SHAE

Artist Sage Paul leads an artist talk for students from Strengthening Hamilton Aboriginal Education (SHAE). This event is for SHAE students only and is not open to the public.


Garment Worker Protection Act, Nicolas Zuñiga and Emmanuel Soriano, courtesy of the Garment Worker Center.

¡Adelante Siempre!

Garment Worker Center, Garment Worker Diaries – Microfinance Opportunities, Meera Sethi
Curated by Hitoko Okada

September 1 – December 11, 2021

This exhibition endeavours to tell the living stories of garment workers and their leadership to honour their labour, lives, resistance, joys, and triumphs, and to pass on their stories of collective organizing, community led action and mutual aid practices to the next generation of future workers. Garment workers are empowered agents who lead systemic change to better their lives and labour throughout the global garment industry through collective organizing, direct action, community building, and sweatshop abolition. These collective acts of resistance by the rising majority reverberate like a mighty thunder expanding and enduring across time and space, embodying the revolutionary spirit of garment workers past, present and future. Can you hear the resounding roar of tens of millions of garment workers echoing across oceans, land, geographies, languages, and time, driven by revolutionary love and conviction, with fists raised high demanding a just recovery and deserving futures, ¡Adelante Siempre! Forward! Forever!


Aboubakar Fofana is a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose working mediums include calligraphy, textiles and natural dyes. He is known for his work in reinvigorating and redefining West African indigo dyeing techniques.

Hoda Katebi is a Chicago-based Iranian-American writer, abolitionist organizer and creative educator. Her political fashion work has been hailed from the BBC to the New York Times to the pages of VOGUE.

Kavita Parmar stumbled into the fashion industry right out of high school and as they say about people who love what they do, feels like she hasn’t worked a day in her life. In 2010 she started the IOU Project, creating the hashtag #whomademyclothes.

Meera Sethi is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose affective, research-based practice explores the body, dress, garments, and materiality from critical, feminist, and anti-colonial perspectives. She works in drawing, painting, fibre, illustration, and performance.

Sage Paul is an urban Denesuliné tskwe based in Toronto and a member of English River First Nation. Sage is an award-winning artist and designer and a recognized leader of Indigenous fashion, craft and textiles.

Hitoko Okada is a fibre artist, community arts organizer and curator currently living in Hamilton, Ontario. She is currently developing a research-based body of work exploring the history and ancestral knowledge of cultural heritage craft of Japanese indigo, kakishibu dye and shifu weaving.

Your safety is important to us. Please read our COVID protocols before visiting HERE.

WAHC wishes to acknowledge the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton, the Province of Ontario, CUPE, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs.

WAHC acknowledges that we are located on the traditional territories of the Wendat and Neutrals, and later, the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe as governed by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Covenant.

For more information, please contact Sonali Menezes, Program and Exhibitions Specialist, at (905) 522-3003 ex. 29 or

51 Stuart Street | Hamilton, Ontario | (905) 522-3003
Open Wednesday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm and Saturdays 12 pm – 4 pm
Our building is fully accessible.

Twitter: @WAHC
Facebook: WorkersArtsandHeritageCentre
Instagram: @workersartsandheritage