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LL Designs keeps Native culture alive, one tiny moccasin step at a time.

“There has been art in my blood since childhood,” says Lloree Dickens. Raised on the North Dakota Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, she is a proud member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation). Now based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dickens is determined to keep her culture alive through LL Designs, her new online store featuring a variety of handmade moccasin masterpieces. “I want to promote Native-inspired design that is Native American-made,” she says.

All of her Plains-style moccasins are designed by Dickens herself. Each pair is handcrafted from deerskin leather and colorful seed beads — size 11 Charlotte Cut. Though the beading itself is important, the aesthetics are not the ultimate aim for Dickens’ art.

“They are not just something that’s supposed to be pretty,” she says. “They are a way of creating something special and sharing who I am as a person.” Each pair is hand-sewn using a lazy stitch, a Sioux Indian-invented style of beading, and features colors that reflect the Medicine Wheel, a color palette central to spiritual concepts within Native American culture.

Before making shoes, Dickens hand-painted longhorn skulls. She also currently sells leather belts and cuffs, and in the upcoming year she will add leather purses, dog collars, and women's wedges to her growing fashion collection. “It’s certainly something to look forward to,” she says. “I want to reach a population that appreciates Native American-based products.”

Check out her website to shop her art and women’s styles. We just can’t get past the ridiculously cute “Lil Toes” collection for tiny tots — the perfect baby shower gift.

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