Ahead of Santa Fe Indian Market, we’re featuring the designers whose lines will be shown at the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show. Here we spotlight Korina Emmerich
Who: Korina Emmerich (Puyallup)
The line: “EMME is a New York-based womenswear and accessory brand founded in 2009 by Korina Emmerich. “My work,” Emmerich says, “is built on the backbone of expression art and culture, creating bold color stories and weaving art and design as one.”
The story: Korina Emmerich has built her EMME brand “on the backbone of expression, art, and culture.” Leading the charge to embrace art and design as one, and weaving it into her brand story, her colorful work reflects her Indigenous heritage from the Pacific Northwest Puyallup tribe. Raised in Oregon, Emmerich developed her brand in Brooklyn, New York, and cultivated a loyal following and successful business as a unique contemporary fashion designer. She debuted her spring summer 2015 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and has continued to develop her work to reflect sustainability and responsibility.
The designer says: “The EMME team stands with the Fashion Revolution movement and their beliefs in sustainable action, human rights, fair wages, and transparency in the industry.
“All of our items are made-to-order in our Brooklyn studio. Our production runs are manufactured locally in the New York Garment District on 38th Street. We are strict in our minimal-waste policy and are always trying to find ways to reinvent leftovers and scrap material and turn them into fabulous fashions.
“We want to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced, and purchased, so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean, and fair way.”
The new collection: “My collection is called Anadromous. Anadromous is a term to describe fish that travel from the sea upriver to spawn in freshwater, like salmon. The collection is made from upcycled menswear and natural fibers. I come from a long line of fishermen in the Pacific Northwest. While I now live in New York, this collection is my way of honoring that history, as well as honoring the salmon and celebrating those who move against the current.”
Showing at the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show: “Indigenous representation is crucial to Indigenous futurism and sovereignty.
“I am currently working to reframe the fashion industry and open people’s eyes to the detriment of fast-fashion consumption and how that is affecting the earth and people.
“My focus is on decolonizing the fashion industry and using Indigenous expertise to promote slow fashion, biodegradable materials, ethical consumption, fair trade, and fair wages globally. It is imperative for us to have a voice in this industry in order to sustain biodiversity for future generations in a profit-driven industry that often lacks a moral compass.
“A large part of my discussion often centers on cultural appropriation in the fashion industry and a call for transparency and authenticity. As Indigenous designers, we are giving ourselves a platform to promote healthy representation of Native people and modernizing traditional apparel practices. We are the first fashion designers.”
For more information on the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show, visit the event’s website.
Photography: James Schieberl/Courrtesy Korina Emmerich