Kim Baird’s installation as the new Chancellor of Kwantlen Polytechnic University calls for some new regalia.
Designer Sam Stringer’s Coast Salish-inspired robe will be worn by Baird during a virtual fall convocation ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 20), a day after her installation ceremony as KPU’s third Chancellor.
“We wanted to make the regalia look a bit more modern,” says Stringer. “We have a new chancellor so the new regalia has a bit of Kim’s heritage, a little bit of the Tsawwassen First Nation, Coast Salish design aspect. That was the inspiration behind everything.
For the occasion, Stringer also redesigned regalia worn by Dr. Alan Davis, KPU’s president and vice-chancellor.
A graduate of KPU’s Wilson School of Design, Stringer is a former program co-ordinator at the Surrey-based university, and now lives and works in Osoyoos.
The creation of Baird’s new regalia is detailed in a KPU news release, with fitting-session photos posted to flickr.com/photos/kpunews.
Stringer’s design work involved having a Tsawwassen First Nation artist add traditional cedar weaving to the sleeves of the new robes.
Lighter fabric was used for more functionality and comfort, and Stringer did away with the giant bell-shaped sleeves and lapels, and shortened the robe. She hand-dyed the hoods in KPU colours, used a laser cutter to get unique angles on the robes, and incorporated a lot of negative space.
“Every shape in there is quite intentional,” Stringer notes. “Even all the angles on the gown are done at a 53-degree angle, which is KPU branding. It was pretty specific.”
Haida artist Dorothy Grant created a hat to complement the new regalia, which Baird says she’ll wear will pride.
“The creation of this regalia is an important recognition of the traditional territory KPU campuses rest on,” Baird says in the news release.
“Sam Stringer has been very thoughtful in ensuring her design upholds important values to KPU but also respects my heritage as a Tsawwassen and Coast Salish woman. I couldn’t be more thrilled about how she has integrated these values and worked with Tsawwassen artists and incorporated these important details into the design of the robes.”
Baird, former Tsawwassen First Nation chief, was in June named Chancellor of KPU for a three-year term. Her installation ceremony will go live Monday (Oct. 19) at 11 a.m., online at kpu.ca/installation2020.