July 31, 2009

Clauschee mentors young designers

Dine’ designers aim to expand your wardrobe

By Adrian Jawort[Dwayne] Clauschee designs for Nizhoni Way Apparel out of Canyon de Chelly, Ariz. He’s been an influence and instrumental in pushing the success of fellow Navajo fashion designers.

“I was greeted with a lot of skepticism when I first started out,” Clauschee said about his early years as a designer in Los Angeles. “People kept telling me that I would have to be more like ‘this designer,’ or like ‘that designer,’ to make it in the field.”

Instead, Clauschee left California to change the fledgling American Indian market rather than have his designs become “another label in some Bel-Air heiress’ closet.”

Back on the Navajo Reservation, Clauschee encouraged other potential fashion designers to come out of the woodwork--like Michelle Silver, who started Dineh Couture. Silver and many other aspiring designers credit Clauschee for encouraging them.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Un3ek Sy5tem at the Heard, Trickster Gallery Fashion Show, and 2nd Annual First Nations Fashion Show.

Below:  "Aloree Begay models one of Michelle Silver’s Dineh Couture designs." (Photo courtesy Glascy)

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