April 27, 2010

Designer Profile | Danita Strawberry

Danita Strawberry

At the Indigenous Image fashion show last week in Albuquerque during the Gathering of Nations festivities, Danita Strawberry joined three other Native designers to show their latest designs. I featured Martini Couture by Dii Martin of the Navajo Nation yesterday, and will spotlight Consuelo Pascual and Mildred Carpenter in the coming days. Today - check out this designer profile of Danita Strawberry:

As a member of both Cree and Saulteaux tribes in Canada, Danita Strawberry draws on her strong cultural pride to create her fashion designs for her label "Danitaz".

Her designs are a combination of her heritage and present experience, creating tastefully designed casual, business and streetwear collections that are both trendy and timeless that can be enjoyed by people from different cultural backgrounds. She uses many types of fabrics and prints, or embroiders Native American design motifs onto her garments. Danita believes that "how you clothe yourself is an expression of who you are," thus her creations show a combination of cultures, her heritage and the contemporary world.

Danita also works in other art forms as well, she explained, “I'm an artist, I like to draw and paint as well as sew and bead. I combine all four to achieve the look I want. I sometimes will doodle certain designs and try to fit them in clothing pieces to find if they look good or not.”

Like any art form, Danita’s designs serve as a form of cultural pride, and she seeks to honor the generations that came before her who have expressed themselves in dress, design and adornment. Native people have always decorated their clothing to show their art and expertise, as well as their status, clan affiliation, and personal identity.

She stated, “Native people of long ago made garments for all kinds of occasions as well as to dress themselves according to status. This is part of what I'm trying to achieve by creating clothes for people Native and non-Native by designing a professional, classy look with a touch of Native themes to them.” Her latest garments(pictured here) draw on classic dress styles with clean silhouettes, and are accented with subtle Native design motifs.

Danita is no different than Native people of the past who sewed and created clothing for various purposes, except she uses contemporary methods, materials and trends to achieve this goal.

When asked about what she would tell Native youth who want to pursue fashion design as a career path, Danita explained, “I think all Native people are naturally talented in the arts and my advice to those who aspire to become designers ...just do it without stopping at all the obstacles that may come your way. Perseverance, determination and the belief in oneself will do wonders to a person.”

Her fashions are currently sold on line at www.danitazfashions.com.

(Images below are all my own - once again, many thanks to the models for letting my get these great pics)