Indigenous Fashion Takeover

I was out in Omak at a convention for basket weavers put on by the Colville Tribe learning how to weave a root basket with a couple of girlfriends.  The tiny little baskets are surprisingly labor intensive, we poured 16 hours into these little things and just barely finished.  My girlfriends and I are all Native American from tribes in Washington state.  Each of our tribes has a rich history of basket weavers.  The conference is set up with teaching stations where you can sit and learn from a master weaver for a weekend.  We dove into our root baskets and while crafting the things we enjoyed some fabulous company, and shared songs.   While visiting, the topic of Native appropriation came up, and we began to talk about what a bummer native appropriation is in fashion today.  The three of us are fans of fashion, we have a lot to say on the topic.  We agree that Native American representation in the media, and particularly in fashion, there are oceans of room for improvement.  We lament the inaccuracies, and feel that much of it is so off the mark it’s offensive.

I believe current native culture and particularly current native youth culture is vibrant, visually striking, and inspiring.  We talked at length about the current trends in native fashion and its variances across the region.   Glenda and I started to cook up a collaborative project, combining my skills as a photographer and her skills as a stylist and cultural leader, to create commercial fashion imagery that includes thoughtful representation specifically geared to highlight healthy native youth culture.

Photography-Selena Kearney, Chehalis

Styling -Glenda Breiler, Colville

Model- Celilo Miles, Nimiipuu

Model- Sequoia Dance, Shoshone-Bannock

Model-Brooke Allen, Chehalis

Model- Jackson Higuera, Amah Mutsun

Model- Stephanie Masterman, Tlingit

Designer- Tessa Sayers, Ojibwe/Cree/Metis, Brand-Soul Curiosity, Floral Motif Tights

Designer-Mariana Harvey, Yakima, Bone Salmon Earrings

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