The Santa Fe Indian Market Spotlights Indigenous Excellence In Fashion

The Santa Fe Indian Market Spotlights Indigenous Excellence In Fashion

Photography by Nicole Romanoff. Graphic by Leo Tapel

In honour of the Santa Fe Indian Market’s 100th anniversary, discover some of the event’s top fashion talents.

One hundred years of fashion can feel like a long time, with styles evolving and, more often than not, returning. (We see you, low-rise jeans.) But for the designers who took part in the 100th edition of the Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico, clothing is about so much more than trends.

“Fashion today is just a continuation of who we are as a people and how we’ve always expressed ourselves,” says Lauren Good Day, one of 15 designers from Canada and the United States who staged runway shows at the world’s largest Native American art market in August. Styles varied from those with traditional Haida images, like in Dorothy Grant’s work, to menswear by Orlando Dugi that was inspired by the creation story in Diné culture. Celebrity models added to the festive atmosphere and included Prey’s Amber Midthunder, Dark Winds cast members Kiowa Gordon, Jessica Matten and Eugene Brave Rock and fashion model Quannah Chasinghorse.

“Indigenous fashion is created with so much care and intention,” explains Jason Baerg, who designs under the label Ayimach_Horizons. “We look through the canons, and there’s a super-rich visual archive from every nation that speaks to our great pride and connection to place, story and ancestors.”

Designer Melanie LeBlanc says that everything contemporary designers are doing has roots in what has come before. “With fashion evolving over the years, even though it might not be exactly how it was when our ancestors made clothing, we’re still bringing aspects of their beading and their silhouettes into today’s fashion,” she says. “We’re just twisting it into a way in which people of our generation will wear it.”

Here, we spotlight some of the brands that took part in the 100th Santa Fe Indian Market.

Catherine Blackburn and Melanie LeBlanc

Photography by Nicole Romanoff

Brand: Catherine Blackburn and LeBlanc Apparel

Background: Melanie LeBlanc is based in…

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