A primary mission of the Beyond Buckskin Boutique is to create a substantial movement of Native American representation in the fashion industry and to bring greater recognition to Native-made fashion. We are creating a much-needed platform where emerging and established artists can bring their work to new audiences.
The fashion industry is one of the hardest fields to break into, regardless of your background. Through this boutique, we create a space to bring Native American-made fashion to the forefront and to demonstrate that ‘Native fashion’ and ‘Native style’ is more than just a trend.
The Beyond Buckskin Boutique officially launched in May 2012. It is the first-ever Native American-operated online gallery store specializing in Native American-made fashion, jewelry, and accessories. All items sold through this premier Native fashion boutique are hand-selected by Beyond Buckskin author and Boutique owner, Jessica R. Metcalfe, Ph.D. (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) and represent a variety of styles, regions, and price ranges.
The Boutique is an extension of the primary site, Beyond Buckskin, which was founded in 2009 as a website dedicated to all things related to Native American fashion. It has steadily grown over the past four years with a dedicated readership and has developed into a one-stop site where people can read interviews with Indigenous designers, view images from recent fashion events, learn about the historical evolution of Native American clothing, and discuss critical issues in the field of fashion, especially as it pertains to cultural misappropriation by the mainstream fashion industry.
The Boutique provides a space for people from all backgrounds to access Native-made fashion and support Native American designers. Products sold through the Boutique comprise the following categories:
- HIGH END - COUTURE FASHION AND JEWELRY: Native American fashion designers create art for the body using needle, thread, and fabric while cutting-edge artists break past the usual in Native American jewelry by combining historical styles, timeless stories, and contemporary symbols.
- STREET STYLE - STREETWEAR AND NATIVE POP JEWELRY: Several grassroots Native-run companies remix the iconic American t-shirt with cool representations of Native cultures. Other hip Native artists create jewelry in bright and vibrant colors. Inspired by their cultural heritages, they also infuse a keen sense of pop culture into their designs.
- ACCESSORIES: Add a touch of culture to any wardrobe with scarves, purses, hats or shoes made by Native designers who incorporate traditional American Indian aesthetics, contemporary powwow colors, and international styles.
- TINY FASHION: Babies and children have always been treasured in Native communities. Here, this idea is expressed in one-of-a-kind items for the special babies and tiny tots in your life.
- PRINT: Purchase magazines, cards, and books featuring Native American fashion and art for a gift or for yourself.
The Boutique is updated frequently with new items, and while only 11 designers represented the first group of artists on the site, this number has already tripled, and more artists are added every month.
Through this Boutique, we hope to create a new definition of what is ‘Native fashion’ and ‘Native style’ – as defined by Native American artists. In effect, the artists represented on Beyond Buckskin reclaim Native America's right to determine what is ‘Native’ when it comes to fashion. As we have seen in recent mainstream culture and hipster movements, these ideas and labels have been misappropriated and misused. Now is the time to refocus the attention back to the Native artists who produce fashion, jewelry and accessories.