January 30, 2012

Save Us From Our Followers

"New Tlingit 'Encyclopedia' Baffling to Scholars, Speakers"

I have no words.. just a link! Click here.

This stuff still goes on? Of course... this is a prime example of why it is important for us to command our cultures ship. Here is a photo..

(This link was brought to you by Indian Nick.)

Bead Artist Profile | Terra Houska

Last month, I spotlighted a bunch of Etsy artists and shop-owners as part of a 'Holiday Shopping Guide' to promote the idea of 'buying local' and 'buying Native.' To continue this idea beyond just the holidays, I'm going to be doing designer profiles on Native Etsy artists in the coming months.

The second Etsy artist of 2012 is Terra Houska, the brains and creative hands behind Maka/Earth/Terra Lakota Creations. She is Oglala Lakota, and was born and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota. A traditional powwow dancer, Houska started beading in college with her beading club, she says, just to learn how to do something different.

January 27, 2012

London Pacific Fashion Show Designers Announced

New Zealand fashion designers will appear in the upcoming London Pacific Fashion Show to be held in October. A charity fundraiser, this event will feature some of the hottest Pacifika designers.

For example, award-winning Samoan-raised (and Auckland-based) fashion designer Lindah Lepou will join other New Zealand designers Shona Tawhiao, Alixene Curtis, Jackie Naylor and Sistar S’Pacific.

I've written about the work of Shona Tawhiao (left) before, she is one of my favorite Maori designers. She is a skilled fiber artist, and she has based her fashion collections on traditional warrior attire using Maori weaving techniques.

January 26, 2012

RedStyle Launches

Check out this super new online resource for fashion, art, and music. RedStyle seeks to offer a networking space to easily and quickly find First Nation professionals. As of now, the site features posts about musicians and artists, and fashion designers Angela DeMontigny, Virgil Ortiz, Wolf Pack Designs, and Kim Picard. Click here for more information.

January 25, 2012

Bead Artist Profile | Summer Peters

Summer Peters, a proud member of the Saginaw Ojibwe Tribe of Michigan, first learned to bead from her mom and grandmother. They taught her to thread her first needle and how to make the knot at the end, and it seems like she hasn't stopped since. She developed her own unique technique of beading, and sold her first piece of beadwork when she was a young teenager.

January 24, 2012

Creating a National Aboriginal Fashion Week

The folks up north are brewing up a National Aboriginal Fashion Week (NAFW) to launch this summer. Slated to happen in Regina, Saskatchewan, June 21-23 of 2012, NAFW will deliver a diverse experience blending fashion and music from artists and designers from across Saskatchewan and Canada. The fashion shows will include street wear, eco-friendly garments, and Aboriginal designs. NAFW aims to create a global platform for new designers and emerging artists in North America.

Click here to read more.

January 23, 2012

Photographer Profile | Levi BlackWolf

It was like the shot that took Native photography to places it's never been to before. Or maybe it's been there before, but never there there. Like, there there. The responses to the calendar put out by Wolfn Photographies (left) had the ladies saying quotable quotes like "I'll take one. Oh...you meant the calendar..." and "I need this at work, home, and in my car!" and my personal favorite, "creator was in a good mood when he made you."

The man who brought us this joyous image is Levi BlackWolf, the eyes behind Wolfn Photographies.

January 22, 2012

Maya Stewart's Luxury Handbags

I first met Maya Stewart a couple years ago during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week events happening in Manhattan. She was selected by the New York-based Unreserved Alliance to join a couple other fashion designers and jewelry artists in bringing Native-made fashion to the international scene.

Stewart is Chickasaw, Creek and Choctaw, and she comes from a family of fashion designers who were rocking the Oklahoma Native fashion scene in the 1980s (think Red Earth Powwow chic). At the New York Fashion Week open house event, Stewart had her latest purse collection on display, and the press loved her work, with several mentions in various online magazines and fashion reviews.

January 21, 2012

Bruno Henry's Manitoulin Couture Hits the Press

Haudenosaune fashion designer Bruno Henry was recently featured in an article published in the Sudbury Star. I fell behind in some of my reading!, but this a fun read about Henry and his work.

Fashion Designer Brings Island Haute Couture to the World, by Bonnie Kogos

My favourite curmudgeon, Kagawong know-it-all, Uncle Mudge, my severest critic and cherished elder, talks by phone to chin wag and wish each other Happy New Year.

He tells me there is fluffy snow on the Kagawong dock, and the bay's starting to freeze over.

January 20, 2012

Photographer Profile | Tyson Anderson

Hello everyone! One of the coolest unknown aspects of the Native fashion world is the fact that many of the designers work with Native models and Native photographers. So, to expand the Beyond Buckskin circle, I am starting to profile the individuals who bring us the images, yes, I'm talking about those lens-fierce Indians. Right now, I want to share with you some background info on Tyson Anderson, the artist behind Tyson Anderson Photography.

Tyson is a member of the Sayisi Dene First Nation, born and raised in northern Manitoba. This guy captures images that radiate with an anticipatory energy that comes when you take a deep breath in just before something major is about to happen. And, as you will see from the interview below, he is amazingly articulate and has an extraordinary story - Tyson is only 19.

January 18, 2012

Gong Mukluks

Activist artist Louie Gong teams up with Manitobah Mukluks to produce a special line of Northwest Coast-themed mukluks and moccasins.

Gong has been creating shoe art for the past couple years, making his mark on Vans sneakers in the form of Custom Coast Salish and Northwest Coast style shoes since 2009. You can check out his Eighth Generation website for more information on all his latest accomplishments and creative projects.

The two footwear options offered as part of the collab will feature a hand-etched Thunderbird design created by Gong and placed onto the Manitobah Mukluks' traditional Gatherer style shoe.

January 17, 2012

Designer Profile | Faith Charlo

I was first drawn to the cool Mohawk hats and baby buntings made by Faith Charlo when I was putting together the Etsy Holiday Gift Guide at the end of last November. The fun kiddie gear is sold through her small business, Powwow Baby. Charlo is Wampanoag, from Massachusetts, but she grew up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. She shared with me a bit more about the story and inspiration behind her work.

When and why did you start making clothing?
I have loved art and sewing since I was a child. My dad was an artist and an art teacher while I was growing up, and my mom used to make clothes for my siblings and I when I was real young, so I have creativity in my genes from both sides of my family.

January 13, 2012

Redwire TV Documentary on Native Style

The youth-led online media source RedwireTV recently put together a mini-documentary on Native Style. Headed up by Cheyanna Kootenhayoo, this documentary explores the world of First Nations Northwest Coast fashion through interviews with designers and consumers. Fashion designers such as Tamara Rain Bull, Pam Baker, and Tony Solomon share their ideas about fashion, history, and how they utilize their cultural identities within their unique designs.

January 11, 2012

Now Bead This

Hello Beyond Buckskin readers -
I'm starting a new trend for 2012, and I'm enlisting the help of some of my favorite people to write guest posts. Here's the first, Now Bead This, by Lut Stamp (aka I.D.K.)


In 2012, the floodgates have opened, and “Native” has become the main ingredient in every artist's mash-up fantasy. Clothes, art, rap music, skateboards and shoes all carry heavy street credibility in Indian Country, and finding a way to personalize these things with a little dash of “Tradish” is all the rage.

In honor of this fabulous trend, let me introduce the butter to yer frybread, the beaded baseball hat. (I had to include the obligatory frybread joke. My bad.)

January 9, 2012

IAIA | How To Break Jewelry

Check out this article written by a friend of mine (and fellow Darmouthian) Peterson Chee Brossy. The article is titled "How To Break Jewelry" and was published in the IAIA Chronicle, the official online newspaper for and by the students of the Institute of American Indian Arts.

The article takes a look at jewelry made by IAIA students; and Brossy features one student, Brian Fleetwood (Creek) who combines biology, science and art in his jewelry creations.

Brossy writes:
"The popular market for Native jewelry has an unofficial definition of what it should be: it has to be silver, turquoise, with southwestern motifs, like concho belts with geometric “tribal” designs, squash blossom necklaces. But there’s also a push from Native jewelers to broaden its scope. Experimentation isn’t always rewarded—neither by the market, or by critics, be they Native or not.

January 6, 2012

The Storyboot Project by Manitobah Mukluks

The other week, I wrote a post about Manitobah Mukluks, and it turns out that the images I used for the post were from a fake website parading as the real deal (and potentially selling counterfeit Manitobah Mukluks). I've since changed the images and link. While this is a reality for all brands (you know, Frada, Folex, etc), I get particularly riled up when it has to do with Native gear.

While the exact details of this other page are still unfolding, the fake store has many of the same images as the real page (including hijacking the "our story" image), making it confusing for buyers. The fake page also undercuts the prices of the real Manitobah Mukluks store by doing the ol' 20% off trick. You're probably thinking the same thing as me: Is it legal for a site to do brand confusion like that? It seems unethical and outright illegal.

January 4, 2012

Designer Profile | Alano Edzerza

It’s high time that I do a profile on this rising star in the fashion world (who, by many regards, can already be considered established).

Hailing from the Tahltan Nation, Alano Edzerza is currently based out of Vancouver, where he operates his art gallery.

He belongs to the Raven Clan, and the important bird features prominently in his artwork.  Although this post is strictly on his fashion design and apparel, Edzerza also creates jewelry, sculpture, glass work, two-dimensional art, and large-scale installations.

His apparel hit the international scene two years ago when he designed the uniforms for the Netherlands team for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in BC.

January 2, 2012

Designer Profile | Sage Paul

Hello everyone, and Happy 2012! We are going to start off the new year with a rising designer: Sage Paul.

Sage Paul is a young emerging First Nations fashion designer who hails from the Dene Nation. She says she's been interested in fashion as long as she can remember, and she began designing by making clothing for herself when she was younger.

Paul attended George Brown College’s Fashion Design program in Toronto, graduating in 2006. She developed a unique perspective for fashion while working in the Toronto Indigenous arts community, an urban community that is vibrant and outspoken and one that she says she finds incredible inspiration.