March 22, 2014

Artist Profile | Chenoa Williams

I love beadwork. The tiny sparkling beads remind me of both the past and the future - when I see beadwork, I think about the stunning buckskin dresses of the past and the pixels of futuristic digital art. I think of beadwork artists as honoring traditions while creating a bridge for future artists.

Within the field of beadwork, there are many techniques, from peyote stitch, to whip stitch, to 'lazy' stitch and more. Artists use these varying styles to execute their vision.

March 11, 2014

P4xBBB Style Mixer Recap and Musings

I believe that when you combine fashion designers, stylish folks, music, and a space to mingle, magic can happen. And by magic, I mean creativity gets ignited, inspiration is spread, support is affirmed. These elements are critical to maintaining a Native American fashion movement. I'm not the only one who believes this. Beyond Buckskin recently teamed up with Navajo fashion bloggers (and academics, scholars, and professionals) Presence 4.0 to host our second style event in Phoenix during the annual Heard Indian Market.

We were honored to have Jared Yazzie of OXDX Clothing, Kevin Dakota Duncan of Painted Warrior Designs, Sun Rose Iron Shell of Warrior Status, and Nanibaa Beck of Notabove Jewelry in attendance to share their designs with us.

March 10, 2014

Assignment Time!: Pucci Goes Savage

In my critiques of non-Native fashion designers appropriating Native cultures and aesthetics in their collections, I often also look to the fashion writers to see how they understand, interpret, and talk about the garments. The results are saddening. Often, while the garments may be beautiful, and non-stereotypically 'Native', the fashion writers (the brand PR folks, the magazine editors, the fashion bloggers, etc) talk about the 'Native inspiration' in savage terms.

Case in point, the recent collection by Emilio Pucci. If you look at the garments alone, they are quite beautiful (or whatever), as is customary for Italian couture. However, in their Press Release for the collection, which was titled "Call of the Wild," savagery was not just alluded to, but shoved down your throat.

March 7, 2014

A How-To Guide!

Considering the recent rampage of crazy Native appropriations in mainstream culture, I'm coming up with this 'How-to Guide' on how to critique companies, make some demands, and hopefully see some results.

I created this guide because a couple of my friends have told me things along the lines of "I like what you're doing, you don't just sit on the sidelines and complain," and/or "You help create content, and you actually do stuff and help real people like the artists." (And 'complain' was their actual word, not 'critique').

March 6, 2014

Indigenous New Media and Beyond Buckskin

New media, technology, the internet: these things have been vital to the expansion of Beyond Buckskin.

This project began in 2005 as a Master's Thesis to investigate the work of Native fashion. It led to my follow-up Doctoral Dissertation on Native American designers of high fashion. Through my research, I interviewed many individuals, and they told me stories, shared their experiences, both positive and negative, about creating clothing and art for the body.