A standout moment of last night’s Miss USA 2017 competition? Miss Alaska Alyssa London making the top 10, of course. Alaska was called out as the last spot of the top ten, alongside the most diverse group of girls the competition has ever seen.
Another reason why London stood out amongst her competitors was her gown she selected for the Gown category; it showcased her Tlingit culture and heritage. It was custom-designed by Joey Galon, a world-renowned fashion designer who designs extravagant gowns that are seen on red carpets and pageants around the world.
London wanted to use her spotlight on the Miss USA stage to showcase her culture and inspire others to embrace their unique heritage. She chose to emulate a Tlingit robe for her gown, which is the traditional regalia of her tribe.
According to Galon’s Instagram post, the gown was custom-designed with dupioni silk and 5,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystals. After London commissioned Tlingit artist Preston Singletary to come up with a design that reflected London’s clan’s killer whale crest, Galon crystallized it with Swarovski crystals.
Galon then researched various tribal robes and decided to have the train of the gown mimic a robe that would sit over shoulders like a traditional Tlingit robe presenting the crystallized artwork. When London hit the stage she dropped it to the floor, revealing her gown underneath.
“By wearing a gown with this design work, I felt I had the strength of my ancestors and my whole community behind me on stage,” London explained in her Facebook post. “Also, in doing so, I am blending tradition with modernity, showcasing the vitality of our indigenous cultures today.”