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Our Story

Discover Indigenous Art in Canada: Indigenous Artists You Should Know

A bold re-imagining of the traditional animal crests of the Northwest Coast Peoples

Totem Design House is an Indigenous lifestyle and clothing brand that is 100% Indigenous woman owned and operated. The company emphasizes charitable giving, with 10% of their annual profits going towards Copper Legacy Indigenous Empowerment Society. Totem Design House is an award winning social enterprise and certified eco-friendly business recognized as a leader in the field of on-reserve enterprises.

Contemporary Indigenous Artists: Erin and Jesse Brillons' Journey in Northwest Coast Native Art

Haida and Cree siblings Erin and Jesse Brillon grew up surrounded by the vibrant world of Northwest Coast native art, becoming exemplars of contemporary Indigenous artists you should know. Erin’s earliest work experience in her teens was assisting her mother in promoting, marketing and selling Northwest Coast Native art. Growing up in the field of a thriving and internationally revered art form has had a lifelong impact. Being close family friends (distant relations) to famed Haida artist Bill Reid profoundly influenced Jesse’s art work, as one of his first commissions as a teenager, was painting a Bill Reid original. Being raised on the ocean as a commercial fishing family, art show openings, urban feasts and Indigenous gatherings were the most impactful parts of their upbringing. The pair has always held a deep sense of pride and reverence for their Indigenous culture.

Indigenous Art Proud to be Local 

Founded in 2014, Totem Design House began its journey deeply rooted in the appreciation of Indigenous artistry when two of Jesse’s now iconic Haida designs found their way onto t-shirts thanks to the efforts of Erin and her then 14-year-old daughter Marlo. What started as a humble endeavor blossomed into something remarkable, illustrating the power of contemporary Indigenous artistry.

In 2016, Erin proudly unveiled her inaugural line of locally produced, eco-friendly collections of women's apparel and home decor textiles, further contributing to the narrative of Indigenous peoples through fashion. This marked the beginning of Totem Design House's commitment to quality, sustainability, and honoring Indigenous artistry, establishing a standard in the practice of contemporary Indigenous art forms and culture.

Celebrating Indigenous Artists

In 2016, Andy Everson, acclaimed Northwest Coast artist joined forces with Erin, all aspects of their lives melded personally, professionally and culturally. Totem Design House produces an exclusive line of his works in the “Andy Everson Collection”. This collection ranges from traditional motif on hemp pillows to Andy’s uber popular melding of traditional art with pop culture.

The fruition of this creative connection is the expansion into a beautiful new studio, Gallery & Boutique as their own flagship store, elevating the visibility of Indigenous culture in contemporary spaces. Brillon designed every square inch from the ground up, from the production studio to their living space above the waterfront store on Comox Avenue on K’omoks First Nation.

THD is founded on Indigenous values, and is careful to not “trinketize” or devalue the art form, embodying the spirit of Indigenous culture. Erin explains that the market for northwest coast apparel and giftware is flooded by mass produced, mostly overseas goods, where native artists are paid only nominal royalties. “We are the antidote to the ongoing commodification of our culture, by what has largely been dominated by non-Indigenous business owners” they stated, reinforcing the importance of Indigenous ownership in preserving Indigenous culture.

In 2021, TDH built a designated production studio in order to expand their production capacity as well as allow for a larger Gallery and retail space in the main building, showcasing an exclusive fine art collection by acclaimed contemporary indigenous artist Andy Everson.


Jesse, Marlo, Erin & Andy, Rob and Kobe


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