Fashionable art: Kulus Designs

Vancouver designer Kulus Designs retells aboriginal myths with fashion-forward designs.

Credit: Brenndan Laird

Brenndan Laird photo

Kulus Design’s fashion-forward blouses emblazoned with aboriginal artwork bring myth to the modern day

There’s a legend in the Kwagulth culture that Kulus, a mythological bird, emerged from the flood and lifted the logs used to build the first big house, says Amanda Anderson of Vancouver’s Kulus Designs, describing her family crest and company namesake.

“I’ve seen native art on a daily basis for my whole life,” says Anderson, who grew up in Victoria watching her mother create regalia—blankets bedecked with buttons and aprons—used in traditional potlatch ceremonies.

As a teenager, she fell in love with fashion and did a stint in Montreal working in fashion production. When she came back to the West Coast and was once again exposed to the beauty of aboriginal artwork, she “really wanted to blend those two worlds,” and Kulus Designs was created.

Emulating one of the latest trends in fashion—future imperfect (and harem pants!)—Anderson takes classic designs and exaggerates an element. Case in point: the voluminous sleeves on the Seagull dress. Deep blue, red and black tones embody tradition, and the fabrics are a modern blend of organic cotton and bamboo.

[+] info:

Kulus Designs

Available at

Dream and Shop Cocoon

in Vancouver

The stunning aboriginal designs are the work of Anderson’s stepfather, master carver John Livingstone, and her cousin Rande Cook.

Anderson’s goal is as much education as fashion; each hangtag tells the piece’s story, such as how the butter­fly that bedecks a blouse helped guide the Kwagulth people back to dry land after the flood.