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Native Designers Fashion Show

Native designers show beautiful designs worn at the Swaia 96th Indian market.

There were 11 designers and 93 models that walk the runway to techno rock 'n' roll and even indigenous soundtracks at the 2017 SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show.

Music opens the heart and the soul so it's important to start with the beat and energy of the indigenous people.

Fashion Designs by Rose B. Simpson, Maya Stewart, and Sho Sho Esquiro

Fashion Designs by Rose B. Simpson, Maya Stewart, and Sho Sho Esquiro (left to right)

Rose B. Simpson was a graduate with a Masters in ceramics from the Rhode Island school of design and she is a multimedia artist from Santa Clara pueblo and she showcased her street fashions on models that were adorned with head wraps, leather cuffs and aviator glasses. Some models strolled the runway barefoot with designs that included black leggings, white tops and leather vests that had text messages as such as "Aware" and "Don't give a fuck".

See article Native American Designers

Maya Stewart was a graduate from London College of fashion of Chickasaw, Creek and Choctaw descent on her models walked down the runway to the Rolling Stones. Her models piled their hair on top their heads and wore designs with transparent materials that included a pastel striped one-shoulder gown featuring side slits to the waist. Another wore a long black sheer cape over a minidress and a mylar top with a floor length tulle skirt over hot pants. There were also contemporary native men's designs with a contemporary street edge.

Sho Sho Esquiro's designs included swirling blue pants, a sea green sleeveless top and a sleek black cocktail dress that was trimmed with repurposed first sleeves that were white. She also had a halter necked, formfitting black gown with a veiled cloche and an open ornate vest filled with silver shimmer. She is of Kaska Dene, Cree and Scottish heritage all of which find their way into her designs.

Fashion Designs by Pamela Baker, Loren Aragon, Violet Dawn Ahmie, and Crystal Worl

Fashion Designs by Pamela Baker, Loren Aragon, Violet Dawn Ahmie, and Crystal Worl (left to right)

Pamela Baker's close featured plunging backs with lots of shimmer on evening gowns. Her designs included to gossamer wedding dresses, a green lizard textured skirt with a high side slit and a gold halter-top along with a maxi skirt match with a butterfly Cape. The showstopper for her was a feathered, cropped cape with a ruffled skirt both in copper.

See article Native American Design Concepts

A Kwakuitl metal shield represents wealth and the more your family owns the wealthier you are which is part of the Kwaguilth/Tlingit/Haida ancestry on her mother's side and Squamish on her father's side.

The only designer in the show who has a degree in mechanical engineering is Loren Aragon of Acoma Pueblo and he wants women to wear his elegantly structured designs to feel empowered and to stand up and be remembered.

He has drawn from his village's traditional ceramics and uses pottery designs and techniques into his couture. A pinch pot for example becomes a weight off the shoulder party dress, which is made distinctive by the fabric's pinched texture. A parrot pot inspires tropical colored finery, which forms a dreamy silk tunic. He also incorporates metalworking to the fashion with multitiered black silk skirted gallons and leather corseted bodices decorated with metallic rings of various sizes.

Violet Dawn Ahmie of Laguna Pueblo made her debut in presenting seven party dresses that she calls an autobiographical collection or an intimate view of her life. She emphasizes textured layering with skirts, hidden pleats, ruffled necklines, sheer sleeves, dramatic cutouts and scalloped and beaded fabrics.

Her canvas is usually lace and skin which she puts her moods of love, edgy elegance, strength and softness and she draws and cuts and sews everything by hand.

Crystal Worl's summer clothes emphasized the body and bold tattoo like patterning. She is Tinglit Arthabascan from Raven Moiety, Sockeye Clan, from the Raven House.

Fashion Designs by Dorothy Grant, Patricia Michaels, Orlando Dugi, and Jamie Okuma

Fashion Designs by Dorothy Grant, Patricia Michaels, Orlando Dugi, and Jamie Okuma (left to right)

Dorothy Grant is the most experienced and acclaimed designer that showed this year and she serves up elegance and rich and diverse collections of a grown-up native chic. She is Kaigani Haida of the Raven clan from the Brown Bear House of Howkan.

Patricia Michaels of Taos Pueblo showed the largest number of pieces in the most varied and she is preparing for her trip to world fashion week in Paris. She is one of only 10 designers that represent the United States. She will parade billowing butterflies, mylar leggings and longed fringe hairpieces that are decorated with pom-poms and jeweled clasps. Her designs feature openness and airing us with partial closures.

She was many favorite at the conclusion of the show and her colors became increasingly vibrant.

Orlando Dugi created colorful artful embellished dresses with beadwork, gold thread embroidery and NT crystals and feathers. His work also received enthusiastic applause.

Jamie Okuma is Luiseno and Shoshone-Bannock and fashions are inspired by sports and military motifs and her works were very well received also.

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