Ahead of the Santa Fe Indian Market, we’re featuring the designers whose lines will be shown at the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show. Here we spotlight I Am Anishinaaabe.
Who: Delina White (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe member)
What: I Am Anishinaaabe
The line: I Am Anishinaabe design style is an expression of Great Lakes culture in everyday settings. It’s clothing designed for the person who stands out in a crowd as glamorous, stylish, and proud of our nation’s Native heritage.
The story: Native apparel designer, beadwork artist, and Indigenous-materials jewelry maker Delina White was taught to sew beads and sequins at the early age of 6 by her grandmother. She learned to make beaded jewelry, bags, moccasins, and fashion clothing, specializing in Woodland floral designs combining the indigenous materials and textiles that were highly prized long ago, such as hand-tanned smoke hide, mirrors, bells, shells, gemstones, and precious metals.
The designer says: “The integrity of my art is important because it is my responsibility to keep the teachings of my grandmother and our ancestors alive. Therefore I do my best to represent our culture, values, and beliefs.
The new collection: This season’s collection is inspired by the connection between traditional clothing and contemporary pieces, combining White’s love for color and Woodland floral design, ribbon work, and beadwork.
Showing at the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show: “The SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show is the epitome event for the Native fashion industry that is the most prestigious and glorious event today. I am overwhelmed with pride to be a part of this amazing showcase with the most notable Native designers in the world!”
For more information on the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show, visit the event’s website.
Photography: Ne-dah-ness Greene; Models: Nookwakwii “Snowy” White (birch bark earrings); and Mary Bedeau (chiffon top and skirt and red rose ribbon skirt); Hair: Gilbert Lasley, Jr.; Make-up: Osamuskwasis “Osa” Roan. All images courtesy Delina White/I Am Anishinaaabe.