In a celebration of diversity and cultural richness, Native Max’s fashion show, “Native Max Takes the Northwest,” took center stage, showcasing the incredible talents of five visionary fashion designers dedicated to capturing the essence of Indigenous cultures. The runway became a vibrant tapestry of colors, textures, and stories, weaving together a narrative that resonated with the hearts of the audience.
The event kicked off with a vendor market that set the tone for an unforgettable evening. As the lights dimmed, the first designer, Mac Fashion by Carlisia “Mac” Minnis, transported the audience with a collection of rich hues and beautiful patterns. Each piece was a meticulous blend of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary aesthetics, showcasing a harmonious fusion of the old and the new.
Breezy Designs by Marian Mike (Diné) followed suit, introducing a collection that highlighted the beauty of Indigenous textiles and designs. The runway transformed into a vibrant canvas as models elegantly strutted down the catwalk, adorned in garments that celebrated the intricate artistry of Diné craftsmanship.
The third designer, Choke Cherry Creek by Angela Howe (Apsaalooke/Blackfeet), took the stage next, presenting a collection inspired by the traditional designs, colors, and florals rooted in her people’s traditions. Choke Cherry Creek’s presentation featured pieces from highly-anticipated collections, such as the Apsaalooke Collection and the Blackfeet Collection, with the most notable looks elevating the workwear trends.
Next, Tracy Toulouse (Anishinaabe) brought a modern twist to traditional attire, infusing the runway with a fresh perspective on cultural identity. Bold silhouettes and innovative design elements–such as applique, feathers, and leather–breathed new life into timeless pieces, captivating the audience with a sense of pride and admiration.
The grand finale featured Meka Clothing (Unangax/Aleut), who skillfully blended elements from her Indigenous and European heritages, creating a lineup of unique velvet pieces and more through traditional teachings she learned from her family. The models graced the runway in garments that transcended talents and time.
Throughout the show, Native Max ensured that the event not only showcased Indigenous fashion but also served as a platform for cultural exchange. Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs were invited to set up booths, allowing attendees to engage with and purchase authentic handcrafted items.
As the night came to a close, the audience left the venue with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and diversity of Indigenous cultures and fashion, with many considering this event the first fashion show they attended. “Native Max Takes the Northwest” not only showcased the artistic brilliance of the designers but also created a space for dialogue and understanding, fostering connections that transcended cultural boundaries. The event left an indelible mark on the community of Tacoma, Washington, setting a precedent for inclusivity and cultural celebration.
The event was co-produced by Lisa Fruichantie of Transcendence Designs, Mary Kelsay of MEKA Clothing, and Ryan Muller in collaboration with Tacoma Arts Live.
Photo Gallery (Photo Credit: Tranimaging)