Teen beading sensation Cohaen Quash celebrates launch of Indigenous clothing line

14-year-old Cohen Quash is the designer behind the new clothing line, Owl Besties.

Cohaen Quash is only 14 years old but already knows what he wants to be – a fashion designer.

Now, his dreams are one step closer to being a reality with the launch of his new clothing line, Owl Besties.

The line will feature ready-to-wear clothing, accessories and beading.

Family, friends and supporters gathered at an event space in Whitehorse on March 20 to celebrate Quash’s latest accomplishment.

“I’m feeling really proud about it,” Quash told APTN News. “(I’m) kind of bringing back my culture and all that at such a young age. It’s really impressive for me.”

Quash, who hails from the community of Watson Lake in southeastern Yukon, has Kaska, Tahltan and Tlingit ancestry.

He began beading just a few years back under the tutelage of his great-grandmother Pansy Forsberg.

His skill and talent for the craft, as well as his penchant for creating owl-inspired pendants, led him to create his own business, Mésdzįh Eskiye Designs, at the age of 12.

Last year, one of his beaded pendants was acquired by Yukon government’s permanent art collection, making him the youngest person to have his work selected.

His work was also featured in a fashion show for the 2024 Arctic Winter Games in Anchorage, Alaska, earlier this month.

14-year-old Cohen Quash displaying his new clothing line, Owl Besties. Photo: Sara Connors/APTN News

Quash’s success is no surprise to mentor Douma Alwaird, the owner of online boutique shop Unorthodox Yukon.

Alwaird said she first met Quash when he was 12 and looking to sell his pendants.

“When he came in for the meeting, I talked with him, we talked a bit about pricing. Twenty-four hours later his collection was sold out. His first collection,” she said.

“It’s mind-blowing that a youth, a Yukon youth, an Indigenous youth at 14 is just crushing everything. It’s humbling for me.”

Quash’s mother, Barbara Morris, said she couldn’t be more pleased.

“Watching him setting goals and crushing them. I’m just very proud,” she said.  “I feel like his future holds Paris, New York and all the places he wants to go. Toronto, Vancouver – I’m excited to be along for the ride.”

Quash said he’s happy to break gender stereotypes when it comes to fashion.

“I think it’s cool thinking going to fashion shows, being the only boy,” he said. “But I kind of want see more boy fashion designers, because I don’t think fashion design is just for girls.”

Quash plans to attend a fashion show in Vancouver later this year and hopes to start attending more fashion shows in major Canadian cities and abroad.

Alwaird said she has high hopes for the young designer.

“I can’t wait for what the future holds for him.”

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