April 30, 2012


The annual Gathering of Nations powwow was held this past weekend in Albuquerque, NM.

Over 500 tribes from around the United States and Canada travel to Albuquerque to participate. There are 32 Dance categories for the powwow competition, covering various dance styles and age categories. There's also a Miss Indian World pageant, a Stage 49 for music, and an Indian Traders Market featuring hundreds of artists. I will be posting images and videos from the event in the week to come. So check back for more.

Designer Profile | Shayne Watson

Navajo designer Shayne Watson is inspired by the teachings of his grandmother, a Navajo seamstress. At only the age of 25, Watson's career is off to a great start. His award-winning outfits are created with traditional styles in mind (think: Navajo velvet and broomstick skirts), but with a contemporary twist, and he often uses unconventional color schemes and patterns - so you get to see blouses in lime green and dresses in tangerine peach.

For Watson, fashion isn't just an outlet for his creativity; it's a way for him to explore his cultural heritage. Watson said he has been designing clothes for several years in the way his grandmother taught him.

April 27, 2012

House of Darylene

Navajo fashion designer Darylene Martin founded Martini Couture in the summer of 2008. This first exploration into fashion design was inspired by the idea of a Navajo martini - a party-inspired concoction of dresses, shirts and accessories that had a distinct hip, upscale classy mixture of colors and silhouettes.

A smart designer, Martin is expanding her business to a house of design that consists of her first label, Martini Couture, along with two new branches: Summer Rain and Savage Beauty. The Summer Rain collection is inspired by her Native heritage and the elegance of the Navajo concept of 'Walking in Beauty'. The Savage Beauty line is a bold and sexy (and sometimes punk) interpretation of an urban Native woman.

April 26, 2012

Designer Profile | Genevieve Hardy

Genevieve J. Hardy is a Navajo traditional wool dress weaver from Fort Defiance, Arizona. Hardy comes from a family of weavers: her grandparents were weavers and her mother Mary is also a weaver.

Growing up surrounded by weaving, Hardy put herself in front of the loom when she was a young teenager. In high school, she took courses in sewing, drawing and clothing-making and decided to use this knowledge to perfect her skills in making outfits.

As an adult, Hardy combined her weaving with sewing and made clothing for her children and relatives. Hardy also created traditional Navajo rug dresses for her daughters' graduations.

April 25, 2012

Beyond Business

In preparation for the launch of the Beyond Buckskin Boutique site, I’m going to be reaching out to professionals to write guest posts on tips for gaining success in business (in fashion and in the arts), including tips on the following:

  • Small business start-up
  • E-commerce
  • Grant-writing, grant opportunities and deadlines
  • Branding
  • Networking
  • Web presence development
  • Trademark and copyright
  • Thinking globally
  • Targeting your market
  • Budgeting

We hope to provide a space for Native designers and artists to look beyond the regular business model, and take into consideration creativity and concepts of Native community to create successful ventures.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to give some formal helpful advice to artists and designers on how to take the professional aspects of their art to new levels, contact me at beyondbuckskin@gmail.com.

April 24, 2012

Designer Profile | Kevin Duncan

You are going to flip when you see the cool totes and backpacks made by Kevin Duncan (San Carlos Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa/Mandan). And they look even more awesome in person.

Fusing Northern Plains and Southwest Native American patterns with modern fabrics (like sequins) and prints (like hot pink zebra), Duncan brings us the ultimate freshness when it comes to ndn accessories.

Seeing his collection made me realize that I just hadn't lived life properly, since I had been carrying around my books and laptop sans Painted Warrior. Duncan started Painted Warrior Designs in 2010 with beadwork, gradually adding different accessories to his line.

April 23, 2012

GON12 Events

It's time to start getting jazzed for the annual Gathering of Nations powwow held every year in good ol' Albuquerque, New Mexico!

As part of the powwow, many GON sanctioned events are scheduled and include the Miss Indian World competition, to be held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The powwow itself, along with the Market and Stage 49, kicks off on Friday. Catch the crowning of Miss Indian World on Saturday.

Per usual, many events are scheduled to entice powwow-goers to venture out at night, but there's one event in particular that will feature a bunch of Native fashion designers, and that is the Central Visionaries Show.

April 22, 2012

Subscribe to the Beyond Buckskin Newsletter!

As part of the growing mission of Beyond Buckskin, we are now also offering a cool Newsletter that will come directly to your email inbox twice a month.

We are going to make it easier for you to keep up with Native fashion information, featured artists, new boutique items, and future Beyond Buckskin projects. Just click these links:

- Subscribe to the BB Newsletter.
- Like us on Facebook.
- Follow on Twitter.
- Repin on Pinterest.
- Read about the new Boutique!

April 21, 2012

Eagle Spirit Break Down

With a post title like 'Eagle Spirit Break Down' you might imagine a cool post about fusing tradish with the mod, kinda like pulling some A Tribe Called Red beats. But alas, that is not what this post is about. Instead, I'm forced to summon my semi-famous Etsy-call-out stance, and bring attention to another bad face in the crowd.

Man, sometimes our world can be so beautiful - it can be awesome, full of potential, kind of fun, with good times all around. But then, some darkness has to come along and destroy our positive sense of humanity (and when I say 'our', you know that I'm pretty much just talking about myself).

April 20, 2012

Angela DeMontigny Designs Fear Chaser Outfit

What do you get when you mix a Chinese actor and artist with a Native American fashion designer? Well, we will have to wait a bit to see the full results, but here is a sneak peak.

Native fashion designer Angela DeMontigny recently teamed up with Ayi Jihu for Jihu's project, Fear Chaser.

Fear Chaser is the story of a woman who, after being hit by a comet, is able to see and combat her own fears and those of others. Fear Chaser fuses animation, art, video and photography with music and expression to explore relationships with fear through the eyes of Ayi Jihu.

Jihu has been working with writers to create the Fear Chaser short story and movie, to be released this summer.

April 19, 2012

Some History | Slick Inuit Shades

Better known as snow goggles, these cool shades are a type of eyewear traditionally worn by the Inuit people of the Arctic to prevent snow blindness while hunting or traveling on spring ice.

And yes, we can credit the fabulous Inuit of the far north for the world's first sunglasses, which can be dated back 2000 years ago and are found in the west coast Alaska region.

April 18, 2012

Cowboys & Indians Features Nike N7

Cowboys & Indians Magazine recently featured Nike N7 in their Editor's Pick column! -

Best Of The West 2012: Nike N7 Footwear

From Nike’s factory store near the Tulalip Tribes’ Indian Reservation in Washington state to their exclusive design boutique, 21 Mercer, in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, the N7 collection is winning over the most discerning sneaker consumers. But this hip line of athletic attire isn’t primarily about the footwear. Nike started the N7 program in 2003 to address a major health concern plaguing Native American communities: Type 2 diabetes.

April 17, 2012

Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year

It's always cool to see Native people succeeding - and here is a story about a Metis woman who started up a fashion boutique in 2007. It has been a great success, featuring and selling only Canadian-made clothing and accessories by emerging designers - very cool! She's an inspiration for me as I look to launch the Beyond Buckskin Boutique in just a couple weeks! Click below to read her story and check out her site.

April 16, 2012

Graduation Double Pride

Graduation across Indian country is an exciting time! We all come together to celebrate the achievements of our friends and family. Most of these graduates have had to sacrifice precious time with family, many have had to move away from their home communities in pursuit of higher education, but all are on important missions that (in my eyes) help our communities to move towards greater self-governance.

If you will be graduating this spring, please consider wearing your tribe's regalia or otherwise wearing your identity on your cap and gown.

April 15, 2012

Beyond Buckskin To Launch Online Boutique

Dear readers,

On May 7, 2012, Beyond Buckskin will launch the Beyond Buckskin Boutique – an online gallery store specializing in Native-made fashion, jewelry, and accessories. The site will serve as an extension of this blog.

All items sold through this premier Native fashion boutique will be hand-selected by Beyond Buckskin author, Jessica R. Metcalfe, Ph.D. (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) and will represent a variety of styles, regions, and price ranges.

Darylene Martin in The Red Issue

I don't know how I missed this!

One of my favorite designers, Darylene Martin (Navajo), was featured in Initial Magazine, The Red Issue, back in December.

Based out of Phoenix, Initial Magazine was created to publish stories about inspiring individuals and businesses that improve society by their positive influences.

Here's the section on Martin, but click here to flip through the whole mag online.

April 14, 2012

Runway to Congress Show

In case you missed it!- Here's the article that was published in ICT about the Runway to Congress event held in Montana at the end of March.

Mariah Watchman of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Boosts Crow Congressional Candidate 
By Adrian Jawort 

Jason Ward kicked off his 2012 election in style, with a little help from Indian country’s next top model. Ward, a Crow tribal member, wanted the March 24 “Runway to Congress” fashion show fundraiser event in Billings, Montana to not only highlight his initial foray into the political arena, but showcase how one could use Native heritage as a source of strength and inspiration.

April 13, 2012

Woven Together

Here's a story posted in ASU's State Press Magazine about the upcoming fashion show to be held this Thursday:

Woven Together By Noemi Gonzalez

As far back as history shows us, the manner of decorating oneself has served a greater purpose. The style a person chooses, like the adage says about images, paints a thousand words.

April 12, 2012

Event | Native Fashion Show to Honor Women

The American Indian Graduate Student Association (AIGSA) will be hosting a fashion show to kick off the Arizona State University Powwow in Tempe next weekend.

Featured designers include Marco Arviso, Kevin Duncan, House of Darylene, Dineh Couture, Earle Couture, Glacsy, Genevieve Hardy, Cher Thomas, Shayne Watson and Kevin Whitehat.

The theme for the second annual show is 'Our Past, Our Present Woven Together: Honoring Our Native Women in Fashion.' Brenda Norrell at Censored News explains: "The theme highlights the strength of Native women, which is drawn from their Native cultures, values, and traditions and uniquely woven into their daily modern lives.

April 10, 2012

Urban Beat | CTV British Columbia

Click the link below to access a cool video put out by CTV British Columbia. Titled Urban Beat, this 22-minute long segment looks into the simmering controversy over the definition of Métis, and the first Métis nation Prime Minister. Also meet contemporary artist Alano Edzerza making his mark in Northwest Coast design, then roll out with a fresh new Beat Nation art project that takes tradition and puts it on wheels, hip-hop style.

April 8, 2012

Exhibit | Red Runners

Moccasins or sneakers? Sneakers or moccasins? How about both?

Red Runners: The New Objectification of Native Art and Identity is an exhibit that features the work of over a dozen contemporary First Nations artists who were challenged by the curators to deconstruct, decorate, and reinterpret a pair of white Vans sneakers.

The artists come from diverse backgrounds, and work in a variety of media. Some of the artists were chosen for their traditional-based work and others for their contemporary outlook, though no limits were placed on what they could submit. All the works in the show are new but with reverence to the old ways. Curators of the show were Jason Jenkins and Luke Parnell.

April 6, 2012

Prezi | Native-Inspired Fashion

Check out this Prezi presentation that draws information from Beyond Buckskin, Native Appropriations, and My Culture is Not a Trend to create a culturally-informed historical look at Native-inspired fashion trends. Props to the maker of this presentation, Christine Robinson. Click here to view the full presentation (PS: Prezi is soooo cool!!)

April 5, 2012

Totems and Feathers | New Seahawks Uniforms

I don't know anything about sports and athletics, but the Seattle Seahawks just unveiled some new uniforms (but, honestly, I don't really know what the old ones looked like!).

The new uniforms feature a deep blue, neon green and wolf grey color scheme. Nike said that the green represents the vast forests of the Pacific Northwest and the grey is an homage to the "beautiful, gloomy weather" of Seattle.

April 4, 2012

Designer Profile | Adam Parker

Here is a quick profile on Navajo silkscreen artist Adam Parker. I met him randomly last year at a fashion event held during one of the many 2011 Gathering of Nations post-powwow/after-hour parties. He wasn't in the fashion show, but he was wearing one of his own silkscreened suit jackets and it caught my eye (left). Scroll down to read the mini-interview and see a few of his designs:

BB: What is your name and what do you do?

AP: My name is Adam Parker but I usually just go by A.P., I am primarily a screen printer and graphic designer. My company name is Endemik Graphics and Endemik Apparel.

April 3, 2012

Video | Maori Weavers Use Feathers to Autograph Their Work

This research is so cool - a New Zealand researcher (Hokimate Harwood) has been looking at Maori feather cloaks under the microscope, and she has discovered that weavers use feathers to autograph their work.

Over 20 different native birds (and 10 non-native species) were used to create the 120 cloaks in the museum collection.