Looking Damn Fine
Individuality, belonging, pride, resistance —for six young Indigenous artists and designers, fashion is a statement
Individuality, belonging, pride, resistance—for six young Indigenous artists and designers, fashion is a statement by Erika A. Iserhoff
Urban fashion expression for Indigenous peoples is a way for us to talk to each other without speaking—a visual representation of who we are, but also of where we are from. Indigenous peoples show pride and demonstrate ancestry in the face of complex historical traumas through clothing, adornments, tattoos and piercings. We are still here and we are reclaiming our identities—all the while looking damn fine.
Indigenous peoples live in close relationship to the land, and maintain strong kinship ties that bind sophisticated social, political, spiritual, material and cultural systems. With our fashion trends, textiles, weavings, furs and other material and cultural traditions, Indigenous peoples have played important roles in the development of the modern world, which have in large part gone unrecognized.
Sage Paul—dene artist, designer and co–artistic director/co-founder of the Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator—argues that Indigenous peoples have created an urban anti-fashion. Indigenous street style is a transgressive act of non-erasure, nonconformity and punk rock, which demonstrates kinship to the land, to our traditions and to each other. Indigenous street wear is a defiant act of resistance, a fuck you to assimilation and a statement of both individuality and belonging. Featured here are six Indigenous mixed-raced artists. Each shares their unique statements of fashion sovereignty and expression of their Indigenous identities through dress.
photography by Stacy Lee and John Paillé