February 27, 2011

Donna Karan Collaborates with Australian Artist

(Nomad: Two Worlds photography exhibit)

Donna Karan does it again! -

Back in 2002, New York fashion giant Donna Karan collaborated with Cochiti fashion designer Virgil Ortiz to create garments that fused her tailoring with his pottery designs. Now, she has collaborated with artist Clifton Bieundurry, a Walmajarri artist from the central Kimberley region of Australia, on 10 one-of-a-kind batik-print cashmere-and-silk scarves.

(Donna Karan and Virgil Ortiz collaboration)

(Donna Karan/Clifton Bieundurry scarf)

The collaboration is part of a larger art exhibit called "Nomad: Two Worlds" which features the art of Australian photographer Russell James who partnered with Indigenous artists to create new works of art.

About the Nomad show, Karan said, "To experience the spirit of these people, to see and feel the craft and wisdom of their traditions, is to understand why we must bring their artistry to the world. We must illuminate, educate and raise awareness while cultures like this still exist."

The show is currently on display in Los Angeles, and Karan will speak in a panel discussion with UCLA professor Jessica Cattelino, and Richard Walley, a Noongar Indigenous Australian elder, on additional topics relating to the challenges faced by Native cultures in the modern world.

Some of the proceeds from sales will benefit Karan's UrbanZen foundation, which helps preserve Native cultures, among other endeavors.

There's two main reasons why I love Donna Karan. First, she collaborates with Indigenous artists and she names them. She doesn't do a generic "oh I'm inspired by the beautiful cultures of Native Americans." She collaborates with individuals, and she gives them credit. Secondly, she supports various programs and organizations that benefit Indigenous peoples. Many non-Native designers profit greatly from their Native-inspired collections, yet they never give back. They continue the colonial legacy of profitting from the packaging and selling of Native cultures. I hope other non-Native designers will follow Karan's lead.

Click here to read more.

February 26, 2011

Native-Inspired Collections at London Fashion Week

Following New York Fashion Week (held Feb 10-17), the designers at London Fashion Week (held Feb 18-23) also showed collections with Native American influence. Fashionistas have already migrated over to Milan where Italian designers are currently showing their latest Fall/Winter 2011 collections (Feb 23-Mar 1), and the grand finale will be held in Paris, per usual (Mar 1-9). So expect my 'Native' updates about those events within the next two weeks. The reviews from LFW are still coming in, but read on for a list of some of the shows that drew inspiration from Native sources.

February 25, 2011

Video | Virgil Ortiz Scarves

Check out Cochiti fashion designer Virgil Ortiz's website for latest offers. His latest lines include Made In Native America T-shirts and Art + Identity Silk Scarves

Virgil Ortiz Scarves from Major FX on Vimeo.

February 21, 2011

Native-Inspired Collections at New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week wrapped up this past weekend, and there were several Native-inspired collections presented on the runways. Below is a short list of the collections that demonstrated Native American themes.

• This line was inspired by a recent trip to New York’s National Museum of the American Indian. Head designer Adam Lippes said, "I have long felt the American Indian culture to be one of the most beautiful and I walked away from this visit inspired." For more info, click here .

Rag & Bone
• The brand's new collection borrowed from "Eskimos, Inuits, Native Americans and Siberians" — with a few '70s skiers thrown in. For more info, click here.

Cushnie et Ochs
• This collection featured leather, fringe, feathers, and other Native American influences. A road trip from LA to Vegas inspired Carly and Michelle, the designer duo behind Cushnie et Ochs, to bring some fringe and feathers to their Fall collection. Metro.us asked the designers at Cushnie et Ochs, "What was your inspiration for fall?" and they responded: "The collection became about Western travel — like a sultry, sexy vagabond traveling around. We looked at Native American silhouettes also, so it was kinda that mixed together. It was taking some of the Native American references, like the elastic boning and the fringes, and cleaning them up." For more info, click here or here or here or here.

Diane von Furstenberg
• Three icons of old-school style and allure were muse choices for Diane von Furstenberg's 'American Legend'-themed show for Fall 2011, and one of them included Millicent Rogers - a grand Standard Oil dame who had a thing for Native American and Rodeo wear. For more info, click here.

• Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte booties drew on a Native theme, with beaded crystal patterns clearly inspired by Native American designs. For more info, click here.

Band of Outsiders
• The Band of Outsiders show evoked university graduates in college scarves, Native American-inspired graphic cardigans and wool blanket coats. For more info, click here or here.

Proenza Schouler
• Proenza Schouler goes into the West. Head designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough were inspired by a road trip across the “Wild West,” from Santa Fe to Wyoming, where they collected Native American blankets and textiles. The geometric patterns and other objects were scanned, then manipulated on a computer and turned into wool jacquards. For more info, click here or here or here.

Sophie Theallet
• Sophie Theallet said that the grace and strength that is apparent in the lifestyle of Native Americans inspired this latest collection. In the developing stages of this collection, she said she spent considerable time at a Canadian reserve (though she doesn't say which one) to inspect the elements of Native clothes from close quarters. She said that the beauty and grace apparent in the clothes of these people deeply touched her heart. For more info, click here.

February 20, 2011

Course on Native Adornment

I will be teaching a class at the University of New Mexico this semester for the second 8 weeks.

The class will focus on Native American adornment; the first half of the class will look at traditional attire, and the second half will investigate the contemporary Native fashion world - sign up!

(flier made by graphic artist Keith Grosbeck of Future Phased Design)

February 18, 2011

A 'Look' at Indians and Mirrors

A while back, Lara Evans from travelpeapod left an enlightening comment on one of my posts about ‘prehistoric fashion.’ She said:

Great post! One interesting thing to consider... No mirrors. That means you must rely on the opinion of the people you live with in order to know if you look good or not. What if what was happening was that people dressed and decorated each other? 

February 15, 2011

The West is Dead Partners with Native Tribes

Ethical denim brand, The West is Dead, has turned its attention to land preservation and the restoration of the bison to the American West.

Produced in Los Angeles, The West is Dead was begun by Kaelen McCrane and Will Cheng. The brand has partnered with 53 Native American tribes to bring back the stock of bison to normal levels. The label will partner each year with organizations who they feel embody their beliefs and goals in protecting and restoring 'the wild west' by donating a percentage of their profits to these organizations, but also by creating public awareness.

The West is Dead focuses on the highest available quality of fabrics and hardware that are also earth-friendly.

Click here to read more.

February 14, 2011

Siki Im Fashion Collab with Navajo Weaver Tahnibaa Naataanii

New York Fashion Week is in full swing, and already several Native-inspired collections have popped up. However, one designer, Siki Im, is stepping it up with his latest line in which he collaborated with an award-winning Native artist.

Much of the clothing featured in Siki Im's fourth collection, Silent Thunderbird Prayer, were inspired by Native American cultures, and the designer collaborated with acclaimed Navajo weaver Tahnibaa Naataanii to create the hand woven blankets worn in the show. Furthermore, the architectural details and creative silhouettes were inspired by the work of Pueblo pottery artist Maria Martinez.

Siki Im told Dazed Digital, "The beautiful thing about [Maria Martinez's] work was that is very much about the silhouette of the ceramics.

February 11, 2011

Video | 2010 Buffalo Thunder Fashion Show

An oldie, but a goodie - this video clip is from the 2010 Buffalo Thunder Fashion Show held last January at the Pojoaque Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. In collaboration with the new Rail Runner, the fashion show featured top Native designers from the Santa Fe region, including Jerry Ingram, Michelle Tapia Browning, Penny Singer, Pilar Agoyo and Patricia Michaels.

February 9, 2011

Living History, Wearing Art | Featured in UNM Today

I was recently featured in UNM Today, the newspaper for the University of New Mexico! - Here's the snippet, but you can click here to download the entire January 18th Issue.

February 7, 2011

B.Yellowtail Fashion Show presented by Wood Event Planning, Winnipeg

To end the annual Manitoahbe Weekend last November, Wood Events Planning hosted a fashion show and party featuring Los Angeles-based fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail.

Dubbed 'The Finale,' Yellowtail launched her new Fall/Winter 2010 collection while Thosh Collins streamed the event live via Ustreaming. Three other photographers were in attendance along with a couple of videographers. Boogey the Beat, Team Rezofficial and DJs Hectic and D Lo provided musical entertainment and background beats for the fashion show.

Wood Event Planning is headed up by Amberae Wood, an Oji-Cree model from Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba. Her mission is to incorporate professionalism, quality, and integrity into the event-planning process to create energetic and first rate events that are successful and beneficial to the participants and clients.

Check out Yellowtail's website and my previous Designer Profile post on her.

February 3, 2011

Pay No Attention to the Man Beneath the Indian Blanket

Thank you Adrienne Keene for publishing an article about Pendleton on the Native Appropriations blogspot.

I too have noticed the recent Pendleton Hipster Trend, and have been conflicted about it.

Here is an article I drafted back in October, but never published:

Angela DeMontigny Accessories

Check out some of the latest from Angela DeMontigny:

New custom, one-of-a-kind, jewelled belts and cuffs for 2011

Turquoise and amethyst

Appaloosa Bandolier Bag - Italian leather, Hair-On-Hide

February 1, 2011

Interview with Sho Sho Esquiro in Swagg News


SN: Tell us a little bit about the origin of Sho Sho Esquiro.

Sho Sho Esquiro: The name itself has always been a nick name for me, people always call me Sho Sho and Esquiro is my last name so its pretty much me. Im From the Yukon Territory and my native nation is Kaska Dene and Cree.

SN: Where did you get your Swagg from? was fashion always a passion or was there something that inspired you along the way?

Sho Sho Esquiro: Basically it was always a passion of mine, my grandma was always into fashion and mom is an artist, my grandpa and dad are both business entrepreneurs. With my grandpa when I was a kid if I wanted to have a lemonade stand id have to have a business plan, haha Now, my combined love of art, fashion, fabric, color, my heritage and hip hop that is what inspires me that’s what Sho Sho Esquiro is.

SN: To give the readers a better feel for your line If you had to compare what clothing line would you compare Sho Sho Esquiro to, whether it be the prestige or the Swagg?

Sho Sho Esquiro: I would say that i’m doing my own thing, I get inspired by Hip-Hop,Urban culture, color, fabric and recycled things. I like to use colors and patterns that people wouldn’t really think to put together.

SN: What are your plans for the Line? Do you plan on keeping it more custom made, or is there retail in the future?

Sho Sho Esquiro: Some of my hand painted stuff is already retail! But I would compare it to when you find a bananas underground mixtape, like a diamond in the rough. So I like to keep it custom, I use a lot of recycled leather and fur and environmentally safe materials like hemp and bamboo. And I like the fact that If you buy one of my hoodies your never in your life gonna see it again, its wasn’t made in no sweat shop. I like to keep my pieces original. A lot of my clothing will have similar fabric but I always use the fabric differently and team it up with different textures and colors so I never create the same piece twice.

SN: What sets Sho Sho Esquiro aside from other native inspired lines?

Sho Sho Esquiro: Right now there is a lot of really talented native designers out, I’m excited to be part of a society called “Bee the Change Arts Society” we support young women at risk in the community, and positive change. I also work with Pendelton which is an American Indian trading blanket, they have been around for over a 100 years. But I would say Sho Sho Esquiro Clothing is more of a hip hop feel, and mine is custom. When I paint, I paint well known indian chiefs and pay homage to our heritage and wear it with pride.

SN: Who can wear Sho Sho Esquiro? is there an ideal target?

Sho Sho Esquiro: Anybody can wear it, if you want to stand out and have individual style. I love to see Hip-Hop artists in my stuff. I love to see environmentally, and socially conscious people rock my stuff young and old.

SN: The custom hoodies are definitely NECK UP, where can people who are not in Vancouver Canada check out these hoodies and more importantly how can they order them?

Sho Sho Esquiro: My website is actually under construction, I get a lot of business from Facebook.. and most of my business is sent out to the USA and Eastern Canada. You can hit me on Facebook at “Sho Sho Esquiro Clothing” I take orders from there and once my site is up it will be easier to view my line and order from there.”www.shoshoesquiro.com” coming at ya in march 2011

SN: What is the next step for SHO SHO ESQUIRO? What can we expect for 2011?

Sho Sho Esquiro: Basically for 2011, I am going to be part of a fashion show this month in Winnipeg then a fashion show here in vancouver in march with the amazing artist and clothing designer Alano Edzersa. A native business trade show in vegas in march, selling on location in AZ and Gathering Nations Pow wow in Albuquerque, NM, in april. I worked as a costume designer before so I feel blessed to fulfill my dream to be self employed, and do Sho Sho. it feels nice to see people in my clothes while showing pride in my heritage. I’m going to be collaborating with a lot of amazing Native artists and music artists this year so its gonna be an exciting year.

Swagg Review: Sho Sho Esquiro is a Native inspired line that combines the use of various colors, fabrics, and textures. Using hand painted prints and custom 1 of a kind designs sets this line apart from competition. If you’re looking to update your Swagg with clothing that no one else has; Sho Sho Esquiro is definitely SWAGG APPROVED.

- Interviewed By: Mel Famous