Everyone who's anyone will be wearing Clifton Begay next season...
Fashion From A Native Designer's Perspective
Written by Duane Clauschee
Monday, 04 December 2006
The energy backstage was nervous and excitable, more like combustible. The models were nervous and anxious about what they were going to wear or, more importantly, who they were going to wear. Every genre of Native American design was covered, everything from traditional ceremonial wear to modern evening wear. It was brought and served on a cloud of tulle and shimmering organza.
The staging was ethereal and mystical. Soft Christmas lights guided the models down the catwalk while drapes of soft opaque curtains kept the audience from seeing the chaos that dominated the backstage area. As in many shows the energy backstage is always on the edge but always in a good way.
Glacsy and Native Model Studio pooled their collective talents to form an impressive talent pool of models. The models range in ages 16 to 23 in different heights. As heavenly as the staging might have been the models gilding across the stage made it seem much more divine.
The event was sponsored by the Office of Miss Navajo, The Navajo Nation Museum, The Navajo AIDS Network, Inc., Speedy Sales and Service, Morning Spirit Jewelry, Native Model Studios, In the Image Hair Salon, and Roland’s Navajo Land Tours. Miss Navajo Nation 2006-Jocelyn Billy, and Miss Navajo Nation 1998-Radmilla Cody, entertained the crowd with traditional songs.
Designers served up an eye-catching array of garments that left the audience wanting more. The “newbie,” Clifton Begay, served up a modern look of the traditional Navajo outfit. Three-Tiered skirts with modern blouses and clean lines defined Clifton’s collection while Tionne Taliman’s line: “Glacsy (pronounced glass-see),” showed the evolution of her design skills. Tainted with subtle flavors of Baby Phat and Victoria’s secret, Tionne gave us a look at casual hip-hop/street wear.
Grand Falls Adahiilini Creations presented handbags and totes that paid homage to Navajo icons such as the Blue Bird Flour mascot. Morning Spirit Jewelry pleased with the crowd with their award winning accessories: Semi precious stones strung together in harmony on silver thread. Wanda Clarke with WC Fashions gave the working woman a voice with her casual office wear and casual evening wear harkened back to Donna Karan’s earlier days.
Penny Singer gave us her look at what the Native Cowboy’s will be wearing on the Rodeo circuit this year. With Navajo motifs from the Pinehill rug-weavers and hieroglyphs found on canyon walls, Penny presented a line of dress shirts that anyone could wear with pride.
Last but not least, was Nizhoni Way Apparel. Duane Clauschee, designer of Nizhoni Way Apparel, steered in a completely different direction. Mostly modern, Duane’s designs featured men’s suits in earth tones. The finality of Nizhoni Way Apparel’s line up concluded with a crushed velvet gown with a strap made of turquoise. The designs were more cocktail than casual.
The event brought a greater awareness to the problem that faces many today. AIDS is a serious disease and living in ignorance will not make you immune to the illness. It is no longer some else’s disease and it is not killing off the right people. It is killing children, fathers, mothers, and siblings and none of these people have committed any kind of sin to contract this illness. Fashion as a means of getting a greater audience to listen is always a good cause.
See photos of the fashion show