By Jessica R. Metcalfe
Whoever these “taste-makers” may be, one thing is certain: Few Native Americans have played a major role in the international fashion industry, especially considering the recent Tribal Trend that places tacky American Indian stereotypes at its core (and next to zero profits go back to Native artists or communities who supposedly “inspire” the trend).
But one young Native fashion designer hopes to change all that.
Bethany Yellowtail is a proud member of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Tribes, and she recently accepted a new position at a major fashion company, Kellwood, whose clothing fills the racks at department stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Dillards, and Macy’s. Yellowtail was hired as the first patternmaker with the Baby Phat division on the design team. Most of us are familiar with this urban-inspired women’s fashion line that uses a sleek cat as the brand logo—and now they’ve got a young, hip, hardworking, creative Native to add to their team.
Below: "Bethany Yellowtail with Mariah Watchman, Umatilla, who competed on America's Next Top Model. Photo taken by Thosh Collins at the Jason Ward for Congress event in Billings, Montana."