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At the second annual Utah Indigenous Fashion Week in SLC, indigenous fashion makes a big impression



Salt Lake City, Utah – The Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City hosted the second annual Utah Indigenous Fashion Week on Saturday.

A group of volunteers called Utah Indigenous Fashion Week arranged the event, which featured models and designers from 12 different tribes.

Nineteen designers from all throughout the state participated in the fashion show, showcasing everything from avant-garde to ready-to-wear to couture collections to contemporary interpretations of classic styles.

The Utah Indigenous Fashion Week director, Jessica Wiarda, sees the occasion as a chance to promote Indigenous artists and their traditions.

“We always express ourselves through what we wear,” Wiarda said. “So it’s just a perfect way to express more about what we believe, what we feel, and through a truly Indigenous lens.”

Although the yearly fashion show was put together by volunteers, Wiarda stated that the event eventually aspires to become non-profit by the next year. The organization might apply for funds and hire staff if it became a non-profit.

A passionate, sold-out audience cheered and applauded loudly as models and designers came down the runway, demonstrating the success of the fashion show. The usage of commonplace Indigenous materials further enhanced the event’s uniqueness. The inclusion of common Indigenous women, men, and children from all backgrounds as models added even more distinctiveness to the occasion.

The event provided a glimpse into the future of Indigenous fashion, according to Rica Benally, a model who wore a creation created to raise awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“I feel that indigenous fashion has come a really far way,” Benally said. “There are traditional looks that are being put on pieces that are, you could say from the Y2K era, from the 80s. It’s so interesting because you can really throw a beautiful pattern on something so modern and it ties it together so well.”

Attendee Gabe Brody saw the fashion show as a unique opportunity to connect over our shared cultures and promote Native American talent.

“Every tribe is unique,” said Brody. “Every tribe is different. They have their own culture, their own customs, their own songs, their own dances. And we get people that come together like this. It’s a beautiful thing. Indigenous voices are rising.”


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