The fall shows are right around the corner. While Native American themes are becoming prevalent in today’s fashions, the origin and its aboriginal authors continue to be left behind. In an effort to bridge the divide, several brilliant aboriginal designers will be spotlighted during 2013 Couture Fashion Week (CFW) at its 6 p.m. show on Friday, Sept. 6 at the New Yorker Hotel.
Each featured designer has been handpicked for her uniqueness and self-expression. Among the selected designers is internationally acclaimed fashion artist Sho Sho Esquiro, a First Nation native of Vancouver, British Columbia. Esquiro’s creations include handbags, men’s and women’s outerwear, high-fashion sportswear and hand-stitched couture gowns. These designs are made of fur, leather and other natural materials whenever possible in an effort to promote environmental preservation. Dia de los Muertos and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo are clear inspirations for Esquiro’s 2013 collection.
Raised in the Ross River Nation of Yukon, Canada, Esquiro, a Kaska Dene/Cree- and Scottish-born aboriginal, looks forward to her presentation at the New Yorker. Known throughout North America for her Pendleton leather jackets and high-fashioned corsets, Esquiro made her New York debut at the British-inspired Escape to New York music festival that was held in the Hamptons in August 2011.
Esquiro is just one of the inimitable, self-taught artists whose designs are sure to bring global awareness of this highly neglected and untapped resource of rich traditional talent. Aboriginal designers Lynda Kay Peters of Ringing Bell Robes and Linda Lavallee of Cree Nisga’a Clothing will also take the CFW stage on September 6.
Peters was born in Ojibway/Cree in Red Lake, Ontario. She currently resides in British Columbia. The self-taught couturier’s formal and traditional creations of men’s and women’s wear feature simple, bold pallets. Her clothes are enhanced with elegant embellishments of West Coast art and often include recycled materials. Ringing Bell Robes has been displayed in fashion shows in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Montana. In 2003, Peters was selected to show her fashions at the National Aboriginal Music Awards and the Sky Dome PowWow, held in Toronto.
Lavalle is a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and the designer behind Cree Nisga’a Clothing, a leather boot, outerwear and accessory line. Each piece is individually hand-sewn and painted. She incorporates West Coast and Cree artwork—which is custom designed by Lavallee’s husband, son and niece—into her pieces. The 2012 National Aboriginal Fashion Week in Regina, Saskatchewan, was Lavallee’s first formal fashion show. The feedback from this show was overwhelming.