“Native Fashion Now” was organized in 2017 by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. The Coby Foundation Ltd. provided support. The New York presentation of this exhibition and related programming was made possible through the support of Ameriprise Financial and the members of the New York Board of Directors of the National Museum of the American Indian. Additional funding was provided by Macy’s.
From vibrant street clothing to exquisite haute couture, Native Fashion Now celebrated the visual range, creative expression, and political nuance of Native American fashion. Nearly 70 works spanning the last 50 years explore the vitality of Native fashion designers and artists from pioneering Native style-makers to maverick designers making their mark in today’s world of fashion.
Featuring contemporary garments, accessories, and footwear spanning a variety of genres and materials, this exhibition features designers who traverse cross-cultural boundaries between creative expression and cultural borrowing. From one of Patricia Michaels’ (Taos Pueblo) finale ensembles from the reality television series Project Runway to Jamie Okuma’s (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock) dramatically beaded Christian Louboutin boots, and innovative works made from Mylar, vinyl, and stainless steel, Native Fashion Now underscores Native concepts of dress and beauty, which are inextricably bound to identity and tradition in a rapidly changing world.