Think Fashion Week is just Armani on the catwalk? Think again. The Smithsonian Museum’s National Museum of the Native American is hosting its own, culturally-inspired fashion exhibit until September 4th.
The Native Fashion Now exhibit features modern dresses, accessories, even a skateboard, all designed by talented tribal artists whose vision of fashion transcends history and time.The designs blend traditional American Indian artwork and media with modern fabrics and tailored haute couture.
Among the featured pieces are silver mylar dresses trimmed in fox fur and adorned with eagle feathers. In another display, a pair of high-heeled women’s boots boast an intricate pattern of beadwork. An Apache warrior edifies a skateboard, a stunning runway-worthy dress of silk and organza also dons porcupine quills, feathers, and shells, and a 21st-century headdress spirals around a fashionista’s head.
The show was the inspiration of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the culmination of the efforts of museum curators, tribal advocates, and a mix of local and international indigenous artists. The intention is to try to change the paradigm of how we see the American Indian in modern context.
“We wanted people to see that Native designers are not just subjects but participants in the field of fashion,” said Kathleen Ash-Milby, one of the museum’s associate curators.
Native Fashion Now is located in the New York location of the Smithsonian’s American Indian museums, in the Heye Center. Check the museum’s website calendar for upcoming events; some relevant lectures and special demonstrations are scheduled alongside the fashion exhibit.