Santa Fe Indian Market Takes Stage at Modern Native Fashion Center – WWD

The first Santa Fe Indian Market Contemporary Indigenous Fashion Show, held in 2014, was held in a public park with four designers, a $200 budget, and a U-Haul for models to get ready.

Fast-forward to last weekend, the prestigious juried native art show hosted two sold-out runway shows with 14 designers, a 100-foot runway, and over 1,000 nightly spectators at the Santa Fe Convention Center.

The atmosphere was exciting with special effects and dancing. Celebrity model Amber He Midthunder (“Prey”), D’Pharoah Woon-a-Tai (“Reserved Dog”), and plenty of standing ovations for him.

“What’s changed is people want to see more, which is great. What hasn’t changed is the incredible diversity of talent and designers in all collections, personalities and creativity.” Santa Fe.

“It’s definitely generated interest over the years,” said Orlando Dugi, a special occasion wear designer for Santa Fe-based Dine, who has been featured at every show.

But it’s not without its struggles.

“Especially when I started, because I was wearing clothes for special occasions…some people I’m not native to, some people are too native,” Dugi said. Even if you saw me on the runway, you probably didn’t necessarily know I was a Native until you saw my face. , nor are they worn by our people.”

Patricia Michaels, the first native designer to appear on ‘Project Runway’ in 2012, had a similar experience when she started making apparel 35 years ago.

“I’m from Taos Pueblo, the oldest living village in America,” Michaels said. “When I started, there were protesters saying mine wasn’t native enough because I used silk, a non-native material. People didn’t understand the modern movement.” ”

That is changing, thanks to a new generation of designers gaining traction within and outside the community through fashion events and markets in Canada and the United States, social media and natively produced shows such as Rutherford Falls.

The world’s largest and most prestigious native arts market, the Indian Market celebrated its 100th anniversary over the weekend, attracting more than 800 people representing 250 countries in traditional pottery, basketry, jewelry, painting, sculpture and woodcarving. The works of the jury artists were featured. and textiles. But fashion has been a bigger focus than ever.

Focus on contemporary native fashion

Walking the runway were many Indigenous Hollywood stars gaining on-screen representation, including the first native superhero, Midthunder. Woon-A-Tai (recently signed to IMG), and “Dark Winds” star Zahn McClarnon, Jessica Matten, Kiowa Gordon and Eugene Brave Rock.

At the seat were collectors, curators, art patrons and local celebrities such as Sazon’s James Beard Award-winning chef Fernando Olea, as well as insiders from the fashion industry.

They included Ojibwe vogue writer Christian Allaire, a key proponent of native fashion. Beyond Buckskin Online Boutique Founder Jessica Metcalf (Turtle Mountain Chippewa). Kelly Holmes (Cheyenne River Lakota), founder of Native Max fashion magazine, and president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Ralph Lauren.

Designers had completely different approaches, from street to sci-fi to politics. Mohican designer Skawennati placed signs emblazoned with messages such as “Resistance is Fertile” and “Water is Life” on the hands of her models, showing off her “Calico Her Camouflage” creations. while others had minimal or no reference to traditional culture.

With so many differences, is running a native fashion show any longer useful?

“Well, that’s what we have now,” says Jamie Okuma, a leading Indigenous designer and artist who lent her work to the Costume Institute’s “In America: A Dictionary of Fashion” exhibition, noting that she’s a token. said despite his initial fear that

A member of the La Jolla Band of Mission Indians, she creates sumptuous silk dresses and robes printed with photographs of flowers on the reservation in North San Diego County, with black and white ribbons riffing on traditional native dress. I showed off my gown. Her gown in creamy organza panniers is red with caped sleeves and matching floral embroidery to match her carpet.

Jamie Okuma, Peshawn Brett

Jamie Okuma

Courtesy of Tira Howard

With a fan club of avid collectors, Okuma knows whether she wants to live in LA or New York and believes she can grow her brand beyond its current one-woman operation. However, she prefers to keep it small and special.

“With the internet, you don’t have to travel anymore. It’s great to see kids doing what they want from anywhere.”

But what all runway designers have in common is a respect for planet and community values, a sustainable approach through materials, local or small-batch production, and controlled growth. All of this is incredibly timely as part of the larger discussion of the fashion industry, even if native designers still don’t stand out.

Quanna Chasinhorse, Lauren Good Day

Quannah Chasinghorse wears Lauren Good Day

Courtesy of Tira Howard

At the weekend market, which attracted more than 150,000 visitors, their booth was the most popular, especially among young shoppers with sundresses, hoodies and scarves.

“You may not be able to afford a $30,000 pot, but you can afford a $250 piece of fabric adorned with culture,” says American Indian Arts Southwest, which produces Indian Market and focuses on fashion. said Kim Pione, executive director of the association. Help secure the next 100 years. “If you don’t pursue that contemporary space, you’re going to lose a generation.”

different approach

On the runway, Dugi was the first menswear nod to gender fluidity with luxury pieces such as high-waisted palazzo tuxedo pants, tuxedo shorts, chunky knit sweaters and hand-painted coats that could be found anywhere on the runway. debuted the collection.

Orlando Dugi

Orlando Dugi

Courtesy of Tira Howard

But a closer look could see the influence of Dyne’s creation story about two warrior twins who were given the gift of lightning bolts and flint armor by the sun to fight monsters on Earth. motif, the armor-like diamond bubble knit pattern on the sweater, and the metallic sun embroidery on the back of the coat, made in collaboration with Dyne painter Ryan Singer.

“We didn’t want it to be so literal that it would offend Navajo people if non-natives wore it,” Dugi says, sourcing the wool from local New Mexico sheep farms and using it with local spinners. Using Knitters. Starting at $750, all pieces are made to order.

In contrast, designer Lauren Goodday showcased a contemporary collection that would explode if it went wholesale.

Lauren Good Day, D'Pharaoh Una Tai

D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai wears Lauren Good Day.

Courtesy of Tira Howard

Her colorful printed bomber jackets, t-shirts and track pants, easy sundresses, mini and maxi skirts feature native ribbon dresses, plains beadwork, geometric, floral and It had a rainbow stripe print. They range in price from $150 to $225 and sell well at Urban Outfitters and Free People stores.

“I like to take older pieces and more traditional pieces and turn them into modern clothing,” explains Arikala Hidatsa Blackfeet Plains Cree of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. I explained that traditional indigenous ribbon dresses are used for ceremonial purposes. , which is fine for non-natives, but her graphic interpretation is fine. “Everything I create and sell on my website or post on social media is for everyone…I keep the originals for myself.”

Taking a cross-generational approach, aspiring apparel designer Melanie LeBlanc and her jewelery designer “aunt” Catherine Blackburn have Dean and European ancestry, with dramatic bear jaws and deer antler heads. We’ve collaborated on a wearable art collection that’s beautifully rendered in gear models.

“Inspired by our grandmothers, we enlisted other Indigenous artists, including cousins ​​and mothers, to bring the show to life with community,” says Leblanc, who lives in British Columbia. “Catherine wanted to honor the animals and the land, so you can see the jaws of the bears her husband harvested. Everything has a purpose.”

Catherine Blackburn, Melanie LeBlanc

Designed by Catherine Blackburn and Melanie LeBlanc.

Courtesy of Tira Howard

road to representation

It has lagged behind, especially in the United States, when it comes to being recognized by the larger fashion community.

“The representation of the Indigenous Art Age is much more extensive in Canada than in the United States,” said Bear Loeb, producer of the runway show.

During Indian Market weekend, Dyne designer and retailer Amy Dennett Deal opened 4Kinship. This is Santa Fe’s first indigenously owned fashion his boutique, showcasing sustainable hand-dyed vintage and artware, as well as Taos-based handwoven clothing, launched in 2015. Such as Indian-Hispanic designer Josh Tafoya.

“For 60 years, there has been no endorsement from the Council of Fashion Designers,” said Deal, a Reebok and Puma veteran. I know we’ve got all the cultural wealth — it’s exploding out of us, but there’s no way into the industry.”

As part of CFDA’s diversity and inclusion initiative, Executive Director Lisa Smilor traveled to Santa Fe for a weekend of events to meet, listen and learn with designers and educators.

“The collection and perspective are strong, centered around a responsible and sustainable supply chain and strategic sales and distribution,” she said. “There is clearly an opportunity for the industry to work together to create meaningful and impactful support and ensure greater representation of Indigenous design talent at all stages of the future proverbial ladder.”

Jamie Okuma, Amber Midthunder

Amber Midthunder wears Jamie Okuma.

Courtesy of Tira Howard

“It’s good,” said Dugi, who showed at Style Fashion Week in New York in 2018. The CFDA is investigating and that’s the beginning. I’m glad they can finally confirm that there’s more than just one particular way of native fashion.

Also in town were 10 team members from Ralph Lauren, the sponsor of the “The Art of Indigenous Fashion” exhibition at the Institute of American Indian Arts museum on Friday. Acknowledging that Native Americans are the origin of much of its inspiration and storytelling, the brand has been participating in his market for the past five years as part of its Native American and Indigenous community engagement program, and is committed to helping Indians want to work. I met talented people who think As an artist-in-residence.

hollywood chance

Lady Gaga’s stylist Nicola Formichetti was also in on both nights after accidentally stumbled upon an Indian market during a weekend trip while on a tour break with the pop star. We reached out to the designer via Instagram.

“I came here to enjoy nature and history, but it turned out to be two magical days of meeting local talent. I feel there is something — I believe in energy — There’s something here,’ he says, singled out to up-and-coming Plains Cree designer Jontay Calm, whom he met at the museum’s exhibition. first place.

Calm, who attended Marist College and is now an IAIA senior, was accepted into the Parsons School of Design but turned it down due to lack of scholarships. His futuristic designs are inspired by nature, Alexander his McQueen, Iris Van Herpen, Nick his Cave sound his suit.

“He takes his inspiration from culture, but he takes it elsewhere. That’s why, for me, this is a fashion destination,” says Formichetti, who made the feathers from 2,000 feathers. blue bird dress and brooch “made for Gaga”.

If she wore it, it would be a full-circling moment for Calm, 26, who sold five pieces at a pop-up at the museum over the weekend for between $1,000 and $4,000 each. ‘s legacy, and a big win for my culture,” said the designer.

A blue bird dress is pending for Gaga.

Dress by Jontay Kahm

Dress by Jontay Kahm.


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