Inukt.com was honored with a launch party at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts boutique located on 1390 Sherbrooke Ouest on October 17th 2013. The brand could not have asked for a more exclusive location for this fall launch nor for a more timely event to be held there. The mesmerizing Chihully is prolonged till October 27th and Splendore à Venise has just opened. So many more reasons to visit one of Canada`s finest museums that has just been extended, renovated and reinvented.
The very generous crowd that evening was full of positive comments about Inukt and the general good atmosphere that evening was pleasantly supported by one of Canada`s best ice wines straight from the Pillitteri estates winery and dark chocolate dipped in dried fruit assortments from Outremont`s Chocolats Andrée`s gourmet selection of high-end chocolates. All in all it was a delicious fall evening toasting Inukt at the Mbam, for which we wish to thank Sylvie Labrosse, director of this beautiful store who has welcomed the Inukt brand along with her team.
A funny thing happened to me the Saturday before I met Jessica Bloodstone. I was walking in the street with my mother and daughters and had to stop because a small obtrusive object seemed to have found its way into my boot. I emptied it to find a small pink pearl. Strange. No one nearby was wearing anything beaded. My mother laughed and commented “anyone else would have just found a plain stone, and you find a pink pearl”.
I believe in signs and knew something special was announced for that week. A few days later, Jessica Bloodstone ambled into the Inukt community with her charming swagger and uproarious laugh. That week I had finally found the time to call her number given to me months earlier by a friend we have in common. We hit it off right away on the phone and decided we had to meet quickly. We talked fashion, First Nation inspirations, jewelry, passion and work ; we couldn’t wait to meet.
She came to meet us bringing into our offices her passion and energy. Passion and love not only of jewelry but also of First Nations culture ever since she was a little girl growing up in Montreal. As soon as she discovered our boots and accessories she communicated her enthusiasm, “You can’t know how much I love all this! I could just die for the special beauty of all this. Just like I die for my jewelry. I put everything into my jewelry”. Just listen to her say it and you cannot have a doubt. Look at her jewelry and any doubts you may have will disappear.
After finding out she was a biker I decided to give her the Inukt bikers outfit as a welcome gift. It was 9 pm and she exclaimed ” oh no I can’t believe this, I want to go biking now! “. Jessica has been putting all this energy into creating and breathing jewelry for 10 years. She very often leaves a trail of beads in her wake and finds stones in her shoes. She told me this the first time I met her and I was so thrilled at the connection with the little pink pearl incident, I just smiled and nodded and kept it for myself till the next meeting to share with her. Our meeting was already intense with her passion and enthusiasm.
Later that week I went to visit her in her beautiful atelier/boutique/apartment. It suits this rebellious-in-an-interesting way and extremely intense girl that to visit her you can wait up to 10 minutes for the train to pass. Of course such an individual spirit would live on the other side of the tracks, I thought as I waited.
Her setting exudes atmosphere. She lives in a red brick building overlooking our beautiful Canal Lachine, a biker’s haven. Wide wood floored halls greet you with Jessica running behind the scurrying feet of another love of hers, the fox terrier named Lea. Who sleeps in a tepee. I swear.
Her home is composed of dark to gold tones of wood furniture and eclectic objects collected during inspirational voyages in Canada and around the world. A beautiful glass and wood dinning table made by her own hands and a collection of chests with dozens of drawers she brought back from Tibet brimming with beautiful beads and pearls are prized possessions. Jessica is an eclectic collector and has to show for it many original items from beautiful first nations jackets to her endless rows of shoes and drawers replete with rings and accessories. Of course the centerpiece in her home is a wooden well-used work desk covered with metals and stones and surrounded with future creations in progress. Glass cabinets on all sides are filled with her latest creations .
Jessica greeted me with her grandmother of 85 years whom she takes to the market every Saturday. She had been cooking all day, yet another passion of this intense to say the least young woman. Amid dream catchers and feather shaped incense holders she showed me her eclectic line of jewelry. In her collection exquisite hand made feather sculpted earrings are enhanced by the style of bold bracelets with intriguing charms and abstract engravings. Indeed Jessica puts all her passion and energy into her line constantly collecting ideas and inspiration and creating new molds and investing in stones and tools. She handcrafts high-end custom jewelryby creating original statement pieces combining silver and other metals with semi-precious stones.
Jessica gets her inspiration from her dreams, her travels and everything she loves with all her intense energy. She also travels in her mind picking up treasures that she gathers and adorns her collection with inspiration from First Nations culture, fashion and ties all this together with her special edge and style. This mix of fancy, romance and sexy pirate/rock chic makes her collections so desirable because Jessica really knows how to evoke bohemian with a luxurious twist. Simply the best mix around.
When we first launched INUKT’s TALK we expressed that we are all about endorsing, celebrating and showcasing all that is hot and trendy on the Canadian fashion landscape. We informed you how our online magazine is “your personal companion and tool to help you navigate through what the brand offers”. Through TALK you would also learn all about INUKT’s exclusive, sought-after products that are inspired by the First Nations people and you would meet the creative forces behind these.
Before we move forward as your personal style-guide and feature our products and the amazing artists and creators we work with, we deem it important to take a look at Canada’s history. Specifically at the first inhabitants who lived on this land before the French and English colonized it.
And what better time to focus-in on the First Nations people, but on National Aboriginal Day, which since 1996 is celebrated on June 21st. The cultural significance of the summer solstice is the reason June 21st was chosen as a nationwide celebration. It’s a day when the Aboriginal peoples, which includes the First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis, come together to celebrate their heritage and their culture, and to recognize and honour their contributions to Canada.
In the past Aboriginals were referred to as “Indians” or “Eskimos”. But for over three decades now these terms have been considered pejorative and have been replaced with First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
The First Nations are the indigenous peoples of Canada, who settled and established trade routes across Canada by 500 BCE–1,000 CE. The Inuit are believed to be descendants of what anthropologists call the Thule culture. They emerged from western Alaska around 1,000 CE and spread eastward across the Arctic. Similar to the indigenous peoples, they live in the Canadian Arctic and subarctic. The Métis, whose history dates to the mid-17th century, are a people descended from marriages between Europeans, mostly the French and First Nations.
Today about 700,000 people make up the 630 First Nations bands across Canada. Each of these bands or communities has its distinct culture, language, art and music.
The First Nations of Canada have a rich history. Historically they were grouped by the six main geographical areas in which they lived-in. Woodland First Nations inhabited the eastern part of the country; the Iroquois the southern area; the Plains First Nations the Prairies; the Pacific Coast First Nations, who had access to salmon, shellfish and gigantic red cedar, the Western part of the country; the First Nations of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins lived in harsh, dark, barren and swampy environments; and the Plateau First Nations, geography ranged from semi-desert conditions in the south to high mountains and dense forest in the north.
The First Nations were resourceful both materially and spiritually long before the Europeans’ arrival. For example, the Iroquois were excellent farmers who harvested food crops of corn, beans and squash annually. They were, therefore, capable of establishing permanent communities and had time to develop complex systems of government based on democratic principles. The Plains First Nations went as far as having military societies and a police system.
Their resourcefulness is particularly evident when it comes to their clothing. They used tanned animal skins (moose, deer, caribou, buffalo, antelope, elk and deer) to make tunics, leggings and moccasins. Hats, rain capes, skirts and long robes were made out of cedar bark that was shredded to produce a soft fibre. To protect themselves from the cold winter months they either wore full fur robes or robes interwoven with goat wool or sea otter. They also decorated their clothing and moccasins. They used porcupine quills to embroider designs. Clothing was coloured red, yellow, blue and green with dyes that derived from flowers, fruits, roots and berries.
Life as they knew it changed for the First Nations people in the 1500s when the Europeans landed on the East coast of North America and settled here. The Spanish, the Portuguese, the Irish, the French and the English were all in contact and traded with the First Nations. But it’s the last two, the British and French that became the dominant powers. By the early 1600s the British had established several colonies and settlements developed on a large scale. Soon after founding these colonies the two powers formed strong alliances with the First Nations. This supported their commercial interests, fur trade being the most vital one.
From the 16th century to now the history of the First Nations people is complex and filled with intricate events. They have lived through the Great Peace treaty signed in 1701 between France and 40 First Nations Groups; the Seven Years’ War of 1756-1763; the 1800s where immigration and colonization created more and more pockets of land to be put set aside as reserves for First Nations peoples; and the Indian Act that came into legislation in 1876 and basically gave the Federal government control over the First Nations in regards to lands, resources, status and money. The White Paper Policy, the Comprehensive Claims Policy, Bill C-31, the Oka Crisis and the Inherent Right Policy, which saw the return of self-government for Aboriginals, are the key events that marked their history during the 20th century. Today the National Assembly of First Nations is the body that represents First Nations in Canada. The organization aims to protect the rights, treaty obligations, ceremonies and claims of citizens of the First Nations in Canada.
We at INUKT have a great respect and admiration for the history, culture and heritage of the First Nations peoples of Canada. We dedicate this article to them and to National Aboriginal Day. And we look forward to January 2014 when a landmark event, Bill 42 is to be implemented, and therefore, according to a Montreal Gazette article, see the creation of a new Cree Nation Government and a new Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government.
Spring has sprung and what better way to spruce up your wardrobe but with INUKT’s one-of-a-kind, beautifully crafted canvas totes. Each one of our four shoppers is striking and unique in their own way. Each one showcases a powerful and vibrant image, which is tied to Canada’s right heritage. And each has an inspiring quote printed on it.
INUKT’s signature eagle is perfectly in tune with the quote,“The thoughts of Man should rise as HIGH as the Eagles do” on our Nitawig tote.Bibagima with its First Nations woman revisited in the style of Andy Warhol reads, “We Celebrate the First Laugh of our newborns.” Wawina that carries the image of a deep blue-eyed Husky invokes our love of animals through, “One thing to remember is to TALK to the animals”. And Monia quotes “I am Inuk and my HEART is free” while showing a picture of legendary Chief Joseph.
Neyali, INUKT’s very own small handcrafted native doll, which we also love to use as a key chain, adorns our canvas totes andgives them added playfulness and charm. And just so you’re all in the know Neyali means “I love you”.
Choosing between these four may not be easy, but we promise that you’re sure to make a statement and turn heads with whichever one or ones you do end up wearing. Whether you through it over your shoulder or flaunt it across your body, you’ll appreciate its craftsmanship and love the feel of its sturdy leather strap and pompom, which are the perfect allies to the neutral coloured canvas from which the handbags aremade out of.
Pair yours today with cropped jeans, frayed jean shorts or a sundress. It’ll add a dose of luxury to your outfit and take your look from laid back to casual chic.
As promoters, endorsers and sellers of art (you can find incredible artwork by William Rusedski, Alain Dahan and Melinda Brewer on our site) and statement furniture, collaborating with an art gallery for our first retail experience was a no-brainer. With streets that are reminiscent of Paris and surrounded by high-end boutiques, restaurants and other art galleries Old Montreal was the optimal choice for us to make our premiere in the physical retail market.
While www.inukt.com is our primary and fixed place of commerce, we also deem it important to offer you a physical space where you can walk in and purchase certain INUKT pieces. We are nothing short of excited by this new venture. It takes us out from behind the scenes and pulls us into the foreground. It gives us access to and direct contact with you: our customers. This is how you can actually touch and feel our products, and appreciate their beauty.
And the feedback has been nothing but positive ever since day one. As soon as our Mohan pillows and Illanit boots hit the window display at Galerie 203, passersby have stopped in their tracks to look, admire and best of all walk-in to discover our products.
This first location in Montreal is one of many to come. In the near future INUKT will take up temporary residency across North America’s top cities, like Toronto, New York, Vancouver and L.A. And Europe and Hong Kong aren’t far behind.
What woman doesn’t want youthful, flawless, radiant skin? After all, most of us know that you can cake on layers of makeup onto your face, but true beauty starts with a healthy complexion. Nowadays the choice of how to attain immaculate, glowing skin is vast. You can opt for simple facials, chemical peels, Botox, filler injections, micro-dermabrasion, laser treatments and even surgery. But why go the drastic route when you can simply apply a cream that promises incredible results?
Gigi Amar, a Montreal woman, swears by her recently launched cream Frequence. “After using my cream for just one week my co-workers asked me if I had undergone a cosmetic procedure,” said an enthusiastic Amar when we sat down for a cup of coffee, outside the hair salon she works at in Montreal, “they said that I was glowing and I felt I was.”
The creation of Frequence actually happened accidentally. Essentially out of despair and need. Amar had an irritating rash, which no dermatologist could cure. After too many sleepless nights she had had enough. Amar rushed to Home Depot where she purchased an Aloe Vera plant. She threw it in the blender with some other natural products she remembered were stashed in a drawer. She applied the concoction to the rash and was instantly relieved of the pain. And to her surprise the rash was gone by the next morning.
A native of Morocco, Amar recounts how her grandmother and mother had been avid users of their country’s natural resources, especially of Argan oil. Extracted from Argan trees that thrive in the South West of Morocco Amar explains that “Argan oil, one of the carrier oils in my cream, is and has been revered as the most powerful, most precious oils by the Berbers, the native people of Morocco.”
In her youth Amar had disregarded the benefits of Argan oil and the other natural ingredients, such as rose water or Frankincense oil. But with her pain alievated and rash gone Amar had a change of heart. Maybe her grandmother and mother were onto something?
Amar started researching the ingredients highly praised by her female ancestors. Soon she discovered scientific evidence that proved their incredible abilities. Over the course of time, while continuing her research, she added and mixed more ingredients into her initial concoction. “I was like a chemist, building on that first batch, adding more ingredients. I bought books and read more and more,” Amar stated.
After 25 years in the making, she came up with what is now Frequence, which she used to sell privately to clients.
In a world saturated with beauty products one wonders what makes Frequence different from the myriad face creams that one can chose from?
Whereas seventy percent of the cosmetic industry uses distilled water in their products, which ultimately dilutes their effectiveness, Frequence uses seventy percent therapeutic organic hydrolates, such as rose and orange blossom flower waters and Aloe Vera (also considered a water). These waters are advantageous because they contain active ingredients that penetrate the skin and supply moisture directly to the tissue. They not only provide extreme hydration, but also have softening and cooling abilities and anti-inflammatory properties.
The use of seven carrier oils in Frequence also distinguishes it from other products on the market. Carrier oils transmit oil onto the skin. They hold powerful antioxidants that are high in essential fatty acids. Frequence’s carrier oils include: argan, apricot kernel, grape seed, palm, coconut, evening prime rose and avocado oils.
On top of carrier oils Frequence contains a mixture of twenty-four essential oils. Amar likes to refer to these as the “plant’s lifeblood” as they are extracted through distillation or expression. Essential oils are effective because they’re small enough in molecular size to quickly penetrate the skin’s cell membranes. This results in increasing the skin’s oxygen levels by 21% within 20 minutes of application. Essential oils also contain powerful and natural antioxidants that gobble up free radicals. “Basically they stop the aging process,” explained Amar.
Myrrh oil and Frankincense are two very important essential oils in Amar’s cream, “they go beyond being physically beneficial for the skin. They have ingredients that directly effect the hypothalamus, pituitary and amygdale glands.” These are glands that affect our emotions. According to Amar these oils help focus the mind and overcome stress. And there’s more. In Biblical times Myrrh and Frankincense were used by the highest of priests before entering temples. Therefore, their quality goes beyond the tactile. They possess a spiritual property and perhaps, as Amar avidly believes, a powerful beauty secret.
Amar chose to name her cream Frequence because each essential oil can actually be measured in either Megahertz, which measure the bioelectrical frequencies in humans, foods and plants. Amar explained that “at 68 Megahertz the body is healthy, but starting at 58 Megahertz it’s not.” Essential oils carry a frequency between 50 to 320 Megahertz and create an environment in which disease, bacteria, virus and fungus can’t live. “Each oil has a frequency and each of our organs and body parts has a frequency. The frequency of an oil is attracted by a like frequency within the body,” she explained.
The ORAC text, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity, is another method of measuring essential oils. The higher the ORAC score in an essential oil the more capable that particular oil is at destroying free radicals, thus delaying the aging process.
most of us adorn our bodies with rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. We wear jewellery that contains stones and minerals unaware that these can affect our mood and our physical state.
That’s not the case for Tatiana Castellanos, a 27 year old Fine Arts student at Dawson College, in Montreal, who also holds an Anthropology degree from Concordia University and Camila Escobar, a 24-year-old photographer. They are the founders of Qura, which we here at INUKT refer to as the “Fortune Cookie Charm” given that the stones pick the wearer rather than the other way around.
“Qura means healing plant and coming from the earth,” explains Castellanos, who I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with alongside Escobar. The word originates from the Quechua language, which is spoken by a culture of people who are spread throughout South America, specifically in the Andes Region.
During our time together the two young, lovely, articulate Columbian women, who now live in Montreal, shared with me their passion for gemmology and introduced me to Qura, their line of hand-made bracelets which they created in July of 2012.
A Qura bracelet contains three stones. Each one is associated with one of the seven Chakras: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown. In the Hindu culture, as Escobar explains, “Charkas are energetic centres in our bodies.” Each Chakra is aligned with an actual physical part of the body and an emotional state. “The Solar Plexus Chakra, for example,” says Escobar, “is physically associated with our digestive system, the upper-abdomen. Emotionally it’s connected with our self-esteem.”
As firm believers in the healing powers of stones and minerals
The two jewellery designers, who advocate the link between stones and the seven Chakras, have an extensive scope of stones to can choose from when assembling their bracelets. They possess stones -all of which are certified as semi-precious- that hail from Columbia, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, China (known for their Jade), Canada and Russia. But choosing the right stones for each client is all about the client’s needs. If you’re looking to better communicate with people, it’s likely that your Qura bracelet will contain blue quartz. “It deals with everything that is related to communication and expression, and physically it helps with throat ailments,” says Castellanos.
What makes Qura bracelets unique is that each is personalized to the needs of the wearer. “If you’re attracted to a certain stone it’s because subconsciously you’re picking one that will serve you a specific purpose,” declares Castellanos. Some stones have more than one purpose and are related to more than one Chakra.
When asked if you can mix any three stones together, I learned that there are certain combinations that work better than others. “You wouldn’t want to put together a stone that gives you energy with one that soothes your mind, they just contradict each other,” says Escobar. She elaborates by giving the following example, “someone who wants help to better express their feelings to others and to learn how to get in touch with their own emotions will probably end up with a bracelet that contains the following combination: blue quartz (Throat/communication), African turquoise (Third Eye/Mindfulness) and aventurine (Heart/love).”
There are even stones, that should be avoided or worn rarely, especially by women. Hematite is one such example. Its energy is so strong; it would drain a woman of hers. Both physically and emotionally. This is a stone that is better worn by men.
Each Qura bracelet is made of thread treated with bee’s wax to strengthen it. Tan, brown, black and deep red are just the basic thread colours that customers can choose from. If you’re looking for a pop of colour, especially with spring just around the corner, you can opt for neon yellow, orange, pink and purple. Pastels, like pink and blues, are also a choice if you want something more subdued.
Leather pouches that contain three to five loose stones are another option that we offer here at INUKT. These are perfect if you want to explore the healing powers of stones, but aren’t interested in wearing them. “Someone who is having trouble sleeping at night doesn’t need to wear a lapis lazuli. They can just place it under their pillow. It’ll help them calm their mind,” explains Castellanos.
We’re in the thick of it. The evidence outside my window stares me in the face. Slush grips to car tires. Countless specks of salt cover sidewalks and stairs, preventing pedestrians from slipping on ice. From fences to lampposts, snow sticks on everything it can. The sky devoid of sunshine is a grey mass. The wind hisses through bare trees.
But even these gloomy conditions and sub-zero temperatures can’t strip me of my excitement. I am thrilled to take part in the INUKT brand launch and especially its very own online magazine.
As you have probably already read in the “About Us” section, INUKT is the brainchild of Nathalie Benarroch. A native Montrealer, who was transplanted to Paris for over twenty years, and made her way back to Canada, Benarroch has creativity running through her veins. Having worked at Femme magazine in Paris, and as a former creative director for both BCBG and for diamond.com she knows a thing or two about fashion and styling.
Upon her return to Canada she was awe-striken by the country’s scenery and aesthetics. This was a different country than what she had left behind. A country that deserved to be explored and brought to the forefront.
And hence, the birth of INUKT, which brings you all Canada-made boots, handbags, apparel, jewellery, accessories, art and even home furnishings, with a contemporary edge. INUKT is Benarroch’s personal interpretation of Canadiana. A unique perspective that carries a contemporary edge. INUKT is about home grown goods dosed with a dash of fashion to make it not just Canadian but also hot and trendy.
INUKT, the magazine will celebrate all that is Canadian and fashionable. Yes, Canada does have an edge and we’re here to help you discover and enjoy it! This is our showcase of what Canada has to offer. While we’re exploring style, we will interpret trends and make them our own.
Think of our magazine as your personal companion and tool to help you navigate through what the brand offers. INUKT, the magazine is your private guide. We will direct you through what is out there, and how you can wear and use what our site offers.
INUKT works in collaboration with many Canadian artisans, and our magazine will introduce you to them. We will feature our artisans, such as Ginette Bastien, from Wendake, who crafts and creates our one-of-a-kind boots, and Catherine Rangier, from Granby, who fashions our very own handbags.
You will meet these creative forces and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of them at work. You will witness how their creativity is up to par with current fashion.
INUKT is all about empowering women and so we will feature them. Women who create incredible things. Much of INUKT is driven by women who have build their own businesses.
So hang tight because now with INUKT at your fingertips we give you the perfect pick-me-up to chase your winter blues away.