Native American Culture Reaches Couture Status

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As up-and-coming Native American designers bring native traditions to modern fashion, reveals new tribal collections that echo the modern twist on ancestral methods.

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As these styles reach end consumers and with Native American jewelry readily available online, the First Nations influence is strong and there is little sign of slowing down.

Most of America saw their first Native American fashion designer when Patricia Michaels stepped onto Project Runway in Season 11. Her native-inspired designs graced each episode and brought Native tradition and techniques to mainstream media. A recent print article released by Cowboys & Indians Magazine in their August/September issue (page 92) highlights these newest Native American designers. A common thread among the up-and-coming designers is their representation of true Native techniques.

Native Americans have always been adept at folding new materials and techniques into their work. When ribbons were introduced into trade, Native American artisans created intricate ribbon-work that is now indicative of their history and style. One designer highlighted in the article is at the forefront of melding Native techniques with new materials: Jolonzo Goldtooth. By bringing new materials and the craftsmanship that is often seen in Navajo jewelry, Goldtooth is bringing the best of the Navajo Nation onto the runway.

“Our Navajo jewelry collection really showcases what Navajo art is known for. The use of organically shaped stones, offset lines, and intricate stonework are some of the ways to identify Navajo style,” explains Steven Onida, spokesperson. “All of our tribal collections are handcrafted by true Native American artisans. Having the influence in design come straight from the source, from Native Americans who grew up surrounded by the traditions and stories, is what makes our jewelry come alive.”

With Native American culture now transitioning into clothing, the appeal of accessorizing will become much stronger. Onida predicts that with the infusion of Native American culture and high fashion, handcrafted jewelry will reach a high demand.

“Clothing and accessories that tell a story will attract a particular consumer. That consumer wants their style to have meaning and to connect with nature. Our jewelry already speaks to that consumer and we are excited to see fashion turning in that direction as well,” adds Onida.

One great tribe that has plenty of stories to tell is the Zuni tribe. One look at the Zuni jewelry collection at and it’s easy to see the love and care that is worked into each piece. Artisans such as Effie Calavaza commemorate the Zuni beliefs with the use of animal shapes that evoke a sense of strength and ancestry.

A major influence in Native American art has always been spiritual. The earliest use of natural adornment was for spiritual functions. This deep connection between man and nature is seen across the Hopi jewelry collection. While the new designers are using organic materials or earth-sourced supplies to create their fashions, the Hopi jewelry artisans are using symbolism and patterns to help keep their Native traditions alive and balance between man and earth.

Whether the look will require a traditional Navajo necklace or a delicate Zuni bracelet, the new Native American trend in fashion and accessories is on the rise. As these styles reach end consumers and with Native American jewelry readily available online, the First Nations influence is strong and there is little sign of slowing down.

View authentic Native American jewelry at

About is an online leader in Native American jewelry and accessories. To contact Steven Onida and, call 1-888-659-2164 or email support(at)NativeAmericanJewelry(dot)com

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Steven Onida
Native American Jewelry
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