Mainstream American fashion has always been influenced by Native American design, and that’s because Native artists have always created exquisite clothing, jewelry, and accessories. But only recently have Native designers started to break into the fashion industry in a big way. Current Native fashion is wearable, beautiful, and, as this volume reveals, increasingly fashion-forward. Divided into sections according to the designers’ styles, the book showcases the work of dozens of fashion designers, from Virgil Ortiz to Patricia Michaels to Jamie Okuma. The book even includes a few Native-influenced pieces by non-Native designers like Isaac Mizrahi and Ralph Lauren. Native Fashion Now designers have dressed presidents’ wives, been finalists on Project Runway, sold their work around the world, and seen it acquired by museums and private collectors. With examples that range from haute couture to casual streetwear, evening gowns to beaded boots, and skateboards to umbrellas, Native Fashion Now demonstrates the extraordinary range and talent of designers who honor important cultural traditions while creating breathtaking, of-the-moment fashion.
The publication accompanies the exhibition Native Fashion Now on view at the Peabody Essex Museum from November 21, 2015, through March 6, 2016.
Karen Kramer is the curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture at the Peabody Essex Museum. She is co-author and editor of Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art, and co-editor of Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic and Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum.