SWAIA Indigenous Fashion Show 2022 Designers

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  • Catherine Blackburn x Melanie LeBlanc

    Melanie LeBlanc is based in Saskatoon, and while she’s Dene European and a member of the English River First Nation, she was adopted and became disconnected from her Indigenous roots. For her inaugural collection, titled Convergence, she partnered with her aunt Catherine Blackburn, who created all of the accessories.

    Catherine Blackburn, member of the English River First Nation (Dënesųłinë́), is a multidisciplinary artist and jeweller, whose common themes address Canada’s colonial past that are often prompted by personal narratives. Her work grounds itself in the Indigenous feminine and is bound through the ancestral love that stitching suggests. Through stitchwork, she explores Indigenous sovereignty, decolonization and representation. Blackburn has exhibited in notable exhibitions including: Santa Fe Haute Couture Fashion Show, Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week, Radical Stitch and Àbadakone. She has received numerous awards for her work, including an Eitlejorg 2021 Fellowship, a 2022 Forge Residency Fellowship, and the Sobey Art Award longlist 2023.Her work has appeared in various places, such as on the first Indigenous female U.S. secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, and in a collaboration with streetwear designer MOBILIZE.

  • Dorothy Grant

    Dorothy Grant is a world renowned Haida fashion designer who has been making Haida fashion, jewelry and art since 1989.

  • Himikalas Pamela Baker

    Himikalas Pamela Baker is Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw, Tlingit and Haida from her mother’s side and Squamish by her father’s lineage. Professionally trained as a fashion designer, Baker focuses on designing a future that honors her ancestors. She does this by developing unique fashion collections and jewelry embedded with First Nation West Coast design elements. Copperknot Jewelry, co-founded by Baker, is a boutique featuring locally Vancouver-made jewelry. Himikalas’s goal has been to strengthen Native representation and to support Indigenous artists.

  • Jamie Okuma

    Jamie Okuma is Luiseno, Shoshone-Bannock, Wailaki and Okinawan and is also an enrolled member of the La Jolla band of Indians based in Southern California. She specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces that are hand-executed exclusively by the artist in addition to designing ready-to-wear fashions. Okuma has been working as a professional artist since the age of eighteen, exhibiting at the Heard Indian Art Market in Phoenix AZ, and at the Santa Fe Indian Art Market in Santa Fe, NM. Okuma has work in the permanent collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

  • Jason Baerg

    Raised Red River in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Jason Baerg is also a registered member of the Métis Nations of Ontario. They serve their community as an Indigenous activist, curator, educator and interdisciplinary artist. Select international solo exhibitions include Canada House in London, UK, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and the Digital Dome at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. As a 2 Spirit Cree Métis fashion designer, they launched their first commercial cruise capsule collection with the New York City-based Fashion Art Gallery in 2018. In 2020, they released a complete collection at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto under their brand Ayimach Horizons. In 2022, Baerg opened Santa Fe’s Indian Market Fashion Show Gala and was reviewed by Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe, one of the organizers and a recognized Indigenous fashion expert, who wrote, “Jason Baerg’s collection was a crowd favourite!!!” This community recognition meant as much to Baerg as being highlighted in Vogue as one of the “15 Indigenous Artists to Know from This Year’s Santa Fe Indian Market.” In 2023, ELLE Magazine acknowledged Jason Baerg as one of “5 Indigenous Fashion Designers You Need to Know.”

  • Korina Emmerich

    Artist and designer Korina Emmerich founded the slow fashion brand EMME Studio in 2015. Her colorful work celebrates her patrilineal Indigenous heritage from The Puyallup tribe while aligning art and design with education. With a strong focus on social and climate justice, Emmerich’s artwork strives to expose and dismantle systems of oppression in the fashion industry and challenge colonial ways of thinking.

  • Lauren Good Day

    Lauren Good Day “Good Day Woman” is a multi-award winning Arikara, Hidatsa, Blackfeet and Plains Cree artist and an acclaimed fashion designer. Good Day has a passion for promoting and revitalizing the arts of her people while developing new methods that incorporate new trendsetting ideas in both art and design. Starting at age six, the artist expanded her work from tribal regalia into the mediums of quillwork, ledger drawings, rawhide parfleche and fashion. She continues to be steeped within her cultural lifeways while actively supporting language and culture revitalization efforts. As a mother and woman of her tribe, Good Day participates in cultural celebrations, powwows and ceremonies.

  • Lesley Hampton

    Lesley Hampton is an Anishinaabe artist and fashion designer focused on mental wellness and body neutrality in fashion through the lens of the Indigenous worldview.

    Lesley is a member of Temagami First Nation, and she identifies as an adult ‘Third Culture Kid’ with her formative years spent in Canada’s Arctic and Atlantic, Australia, England, Indonesia, and New Caledonia.

    Named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Local: Toronto list and the number one Canadian brand to keep your eye on by VOGUE, Lesley has styled campaigns for the Toronto Raptors, modelled for Nike, created custom designs for The Toronto Maple Leafs, and has been a Guest Judge on Canada’s Drag Race.

  • Orlando Dugi

    Orlando Dugi (pronounced dew-guy) is currently living and working in Santa Fe, NM but is originally from Grey Mountain, AZ, on the Navajo Nation. Beading since the age of six, Dugi’s designs are feminine, timeless and highly embellished with many hours of hand-sewing and hand-beading garments. He utilizes luxurious fabrics, textures, embellishments and extravagance, inspired by and handcrafted from traditions rooted in his Diné heritage. Orlando Dugi meticulously threads the past with the present.

  • Patricia Michaels

    Patricia Michaels creates haute couture and original designs, drawing inspiration from nature and her Native roots of Taos Pueblo. All custom-made work is fashioned under her label PM Waterlily in Santa Fe, New Mexico. High-end, limited-edition apparel and casual lines for both men and women are a part of the label. Michaels also creates uniforms and costume designs for operas. Most of her work is made with organic materials that are hand-dyed and painted by the designer, often using algae pigments. Each design she produces showcases nature’s influence combined with fluid textures, resulting in clothing with movement and individuality.

  • Sho Sho Esquiro

    Sho Sho “Belelige” Esquiro is a fashion designer and artist of Kaska Dena, Cree and Scottish descent. Originally from Ross River, YT, she is currently based in Vancouver, BC. Esquiro’s work is deeply rooted in her connections with family and community. Her mother, also an artist, inspired Esquiro to dream big, and she has learned traditional techniques from Elders in the Yukon that she hopes to pass on to others. A painter as well as a textile artist, Esquiro often works with recycled materials in an effort to be environmentally conscious.

  • Skawennati

    Skawennati is a Mohawk multimedia artist, best known for her online works as well as Machinima that explore contemporary Indigenous cultures, and what Indigenous life might look like in futures inspired by science fiction. She served as the 2019 Indigenous Knowledge Holder at McGill University.

  • Yolonda Skelton

    Yolonda (Loni) Skelton is a Textile Artist from the Gitxsan Nation and the House of Hax-be-gwoo-txw of the Fireweed Clan. Her traditional name is (Sug-ii-t Looks) and it is the name of her company which means “When the Whales Crest.” Her fashion designs are inspired and created from traditional oral stories told to her by her late maternal grandmother Lily Jackson (Na-gwa).

    Since 2001, she has been creating numerous one of a kind textile projects for clients from; traditional ceremonial dance blankets and regalia, to contemporary clothing and accessories. Her focus is on building her skills in North Coast Design and the art of 3-dimensional appliqué technique; and applying these two mediums to various traditional and contemporary fashion items. This is where she is able to combine the aesthetic beauty of her culture with her love of fashion. Her speciality is in creating one of a kind modern day robes of power and functional art for people of all nations.

  • SWAIA Fashion Director/Producer: Amber-Dawn Bear Robe

    From Siksika Nation, Amber-Dawn Bear Robe is Assistant Faculty of Native Art History in the Museum Studies department at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and Fashion Show Program Director for the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) in Santa Fe, NM. Her recent exhibitions are as contributing curator for Fashion Fictions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, May 27 to October 9, 2023 and Art of Indigenous Fashion at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, August 2022 to January 2023, as well as co-curator for the exhibition Future Imaginaries: Indigenous Art, Fashion, Technology, opening at The Autry in 2024.