News and Interviews

Vogue Style Writer Christian Allaire on Ribbon Shirts, Flour Bag Fashion, & Killer Desserts

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Fashion has sometimes gotten a bad rap as frivolous or status-driven, but as conversations evolve, many fashion fans are happy to see that the emotional, social, and identity-related aspects of fashion are getting the attention they deserve. For many, the clothing we choose, make, or style is part of who we are and, in some cases, where we've come from. Whether a way to preserve and honour cultural traditions or to push back against normative ideas of gender and sexuality, fashion is imbedded in our most deeply held social values. 

As an Ojibwe teen, Christian Allaire already knew that he has a special instinct for fashion, but he rarely saw himself reflected in the dominant fashion media. Fast forward a decade and Allaire is now a staffer at the ultimate fashion Bible, Vogue, in New York City, serving as their (what else?) Fashion and Style Writer.

Now he's sharing what he's learned in a format for young readers, to reach thoughtful and fashion-oriented teens and pre-teens, just like he was. The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures (Annick Press) touches on fashion and LGBTQ+ identity, cosplay, make up, hijabs, body positivity, and more, making it a fabulous read for anyone interested in not only fashion but discussions of identity and social justice. 

We're excited to welcome Christian to Open Book today, where he takes on our Dirty Dozen challenge, where we ask writers to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves.

Christian's responses will make you want to hang out and talk about clothes and life (and definitely not insects) with him, from flour bag fashion to whipping up gorgeous desserts. Merci, Christian! 

The Dirty Dozen with Christian Allaire

  1. I have an irrational fear of butterflies! I know they are very pretty, yet whenever one comes near me, I have a panic attack.
  2. I despise mangos.
  3. My favourite piece of clothing is a shirt I got from the Santa Fe Indian Market two years ago. It's by Toni Williams and made of Blue Bird flour bags. (Blue Bird is the best flour to make Indigenous fry bread!)
  4. My dream is to have a bulldog. I have two names picked out already: Patricia, or Lily.
  5. I'm a huge horror movie and have been since I was a kid. Scream is my favourite movie.
  6. I'm completely obsessed with Britney Spears. I listen to her music every single day. #FreeBritney!
  7. My Ojibwe tribe is known for beadwork and ribbonwork. I got my first adult ribbon shirt made last year, modelled after one that my grandma made me as a baby.
  8. I am also part Italian; my grandmother on my dad's side is from Fano, Italy. Explains my love of pasta!
  9. My mother is one of 18 siblings. I have a huge family and too many cousins to count. Wouldn't have it any other way.
  10. I speak French. I rarely speak or write it anymore, so I am very rusty, but I went to French immersion school until I was in high school. C'est vrais!
  11. I am a horrendous cook. I have never cooked anything in my life. However, I am an amazing baker. Crème Brûlée is my specialty.
  12. My biggest fear, aside from butterflies, are spiders. Not in like an ha-ha they are gross, way. I become paralyzed at the sight. Insects just suck!


Christian Allaire is an Ojibwe writer who grew up on the Nipissing First Nation reserve in Ontario, Canada. His writing has appeared in ELLE, FLARE, and VOGUE, among other outlets. He is based in New York City.

Buy the Book

The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures

Style is not just the clothes on our backs—it is self-expression, representation, and transformation.

As a fashion-obsessed Ojibwe teen, Christian Allaire rarely saw anyone that looked like him in the magazines or movies he sought out for inspiration. Now the Fashion and Style Writer for Vogue, he is working to change that—because clothes are never just clothes. Men’s heels are a statement of pride in the face of LGTBQ+ discrimination, while ribbon shirts honor Indigenous ancestors and keep culture alive. Allaire takes the reader through boldly designed chapters to discuss additional topics like cosplay, make up, hijabs, and hair, probing the connections between fashion and history, culture, politics, and social justice.