Eighth Generation Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Louie Gong with hummingbird print.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

In the late summer of 2016, Nooksack artist Louie Gong opened the doors of his ‘Inspired Natives not Native Inspired’ brick and mortar shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, located directly above the tourist-favorite gum wall. After several years of independently grinding and selling his traditional yet contemporary artwork online, Louie decided to bring authentic Native American art to the masses by opening Eighth Generation and by doing so, he began to break stereotypes. In a world where big-name companies such as Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Pendleton often appropriate Native designs, Louie took control by becoming one of the only Native-owned retailers selling authentically made Coast Salish art in the entire nation.

Louie has journeyed a long way since first making his mark in the fashion scene by taking a Sharpie to pair of Vans shoes and mixing traditional and urban art together. Since then, he has used his platform to empower and promote fellow Indigenous artists and has become one of the most prominent voices in the Native American community. Many tribal nations across the United States often gift   wool blankets to community members and leaders during traditional ceremonies. Blanketing honored guests is a tradition in Native America that has been practiced for centuries. These blankets were almost exclusively Pendleton but now tribes have the opportunity to support Louie’s movement during potlatches, powwows and many other tribal events.

On Saturday August 26, Eighth Generation celebrated their one-year anniversary by hosting an open house at their storefront. Tribal members from across the nation, including Ahousaht, Quinault and Lummi attended the event to show support for Louie and Eighth Generation.  The event featured a giveaway of several Eighth Generation products including blankets, soap, a limited number of signed Louie Gong Hummingbird prints as well as an original Louie Gong framed art piece valued at $1,200. During the event, Louie took a moment to reflect on the success of Eighth Generation throughout this past year.

“We’ve been open for a year and I feel like I’m at the end of a marathon,” he expresses. “When we launched it wasn’t time to rest, it was really time to put our nose to the grindstone and work even harder than the time leading up to the launch. Now that we’ve been open for a year and gone through all the different lessons that we had to learn, many of them the hard way, I feel like its finally time to take a deep breath, reflect on what we’ve learned over the last year and recalibrate to do even better next year. I feel like I’ve finally reached a time of reflection so I’m going to take some time away and think about how to move forward in a strategic way and how to continue scaling up Eighth Generation in a way that’s consistent with our values and our long-term vision. Not just creating opportunities for ourselves but also creating opportunities for other cultural artists and other community-based Native people.”

Central District Ice Cream Company  debuted eight new tasty ice cream treats at the celebration.

For the celebration, Eighth Generation collaborated with a local Native-owned business, the Central District Ice Cream Company, to debut eight new tasty ice cream treats: Hummingbird Huckleberry, Seattle Freeze (deep chocolate ice cream with Salish Sea salt and almond cookie crumble), Horchata De La Raza, COOL καψə? (nettle mint ice cream with chocolate chips), Genmaicha, Wunder Beer, Chica Fresca and Sleepy Dragon (lychee and lavender ice cream).  The Eighth Generation team also created artwork for each ice cream flavor.

“There’s no better way for us to celebrate the work that Eighth Generation does than by collaborating with another Native-owned company,” Louie states. “Over the course of last year, we were fortunate to become aware of Central District Ice Cream and the fact that they’re also Native-owned. We teamed up to create eight unique ice cream flavors that we launched today at our one-year celebration. It was the perfect way to act in a way consistent with Coast Salish and Northwest Coast teachings around how to conduct a celebration, but to also do it in a way that reflects the light-heartedness and contemporary nature of Eighth Generation. By incorporating traditional ingredients into the ice cream, including some medicines, it was a way for us to do what I try to do with my art, which is to make cultural teachings and ideas relevant to contemporary life.”

After a successful first year, Eighth Generation continues to inspire Native artists and break stereotypes. For further information and to view the Eighth Generation catalog, please visit www.EighthGeneration.com or visit the store in person at 93 Pike Street Seattle, WA 98101.

Why Buy ‘Native Inspired’ Products When You Can Get the Real Thing?

Courtesy Louie GongThe 'Inspired Natives' collection includes these mobile phone cases designed by Louie Gong and Michelle Lowden.


Courtesy Louie Gong
The ‘Inspired Natives’ collection includes these mobile phone cases designed by Louie Gong and Michelle Lowden.

 

Richard Walker, Indian Country Today , 7/15/14

 

When a big apparel or furnishings manufacturer looks to Native culture for inspiration, the result is “Native-inspired” product that has better distribution than most actual Native designers can hope for. These designers can get the feeling they’re having their pockets picked by the big boys — and in extreme cases they undoubtedly are. Louie Gong, Nooksack, one of today’s most successful Native design entrepreneurs, has seen it happen enough in his field, and he’s decided to do something about it with a project called Inspired Natives, an initiative to promote Native artists.

According to Gong’s website, the initiative’s goals include: build the business knowledge and capacity of popular Native-arts entrepreneurs so they can meet demand for their work worldwide; show companies how to create and sell products featuring Native art in a way that supports Native people; and raise awareness about the cultural and economic impact of cultural appropriation and misrepresentation.

RELATED: Ancestral Chops: Paul Frank Native Designer Louie Gong

The first designer Gong has tapped for the project is Michelle Lowden, Acoma Pueblo. Lowden now has her own section at eighthgeneration.com, featuring pillows, a blanket, and a notebook with her “Transformation” design, and mobile phone cases with her “Rainstorm” design.

The pillows and notebook designed by Michelle Lowden, Pueblo Acoma, are part of the Inspired Natives line of products.
The pillows and notebook designed by Michelle Lowden, Pueblo Acoma, are part of the Inspired Natives line of products.

 

Gong started Inspired Natives because he’s frustrated with “Native inspired” clothing and other products produced by large companies. He believes each “Native inspired” product represents not only a missed opportunity for talented Native artists to build knowledge through collaboration, “it also presents a tangible barrier to Native arts entrepreneurs who must compete for a spot on shelves already dominated by non-Native companies producing products featuring appropriated art. At the same time, socially conscious consumers who appreciate Native themes and aesthetics … are consuming these products without conscious awareness of how patronage either supports or undermines the work of indigenous artists and entrepreneurs.”

Gong encourages consumers to support artists who are inspired Natives, not Native-inspired artists; think before they buy a product featuring indigenous art; and use the hash tag #INSPIREDNATIVES.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/15/why-buy-native-inspired-products-when-you-can-get-real-thing-155797

‘It becomes new’: Port Gamble S’Klallam skatepark is a work of art

The skatepark may help bolster relationships with people from outside the reservation.

The skatepark may help bolster relationships with people from outside the reservation.

 

By Kipp Roberston, North Kitsap Herald

Editor’s note: This version expands a comment in the 20th paragraph to clarify how the skatepark and the art will be a mechanism for sharing S’Klallam culture.

LITTLE BOSTON — It was almost midday at the Port Gamble S’Klallam skatepark, and Louie Gong and Josh Wisniewski were preparing to put some final touches on the art sprayed onto the cement.

The two were discussing the collaboration that resulted in a skatepark that was more than a place for people to skateboard. Then, the sound of wings overhead as an eagle flew above, almost directly over a Coast Salish painting of an eagle.

Maybe the eagle was a sign. “Or not, maybe. Maybe [it] just is,” said Wisniewski, the Tribe’s archeologist and cultural anthropologist.

The Tribe will celebrate the official opening of the skatepark in April. It’s a project that started in 2012, after the project was chosen as the best skatepark project — from hundreds of submissions — via social media through the Sheckler Foundation.

The foundation, founded by professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, assists projects that benefit and enrich the lives of children and injured athletes. It was the foundation’s first project.

The Tribe provided the site for the project, near the Teekalet neighborhood. The site was selected by the S’Klallams Working and Giving (SWAG) youth group.

After the site was selected, Angelique Zaki of the foundation visited Little Boston to help plan the skatepark’s development. She connected the Tribe’s planning department with Grindline Skateparks, a skatepark developer in Seattle which has built more than 120 parks — from Okinawa, Japan, to Orcas Island to Oxford, Miss. Grindline donated its design services, Zaki said.

Other project partners: Map Ltd., construction and civil engineers of Silverdale, surveying services; Krazan & Associates of Poulsbo, soils testing; and Coho Concrete of Kingston, concrete laying.

Gong said he received a grant through the Evergreen Longhouse to help with costs, mainly travel between his home and the Port Gamble S’Klallam reservation.

The skatepark has become more than just another place to skate. It reflects the Tribe’s youth and culture.

“The artwork here in the park is really meant to reflect the people and interest of who the park belongs to,” Gong said.

Gong, an artist of Nooksack and Chinese ancestry, was one of the driving forces behind the skatepark art. Gong produces Coast Salish art in various forms — among them shoes, skateboard decks and home decor — for his company, Eighth Generation. He was contacted by Wisniewski and invited to participate.

Gong worked with SWAG on what art they would like to see at the park. He took that info back to his office in Seattle and made mockups of the designs and potential color templates on his computer.

Gong and S’Klallam youth then used high-end spray paint, with stencils and masking tape at times, to piece together the art.

The art project was mostly completed within March. The result is a colorful and cultural skating experience.

Breaking barriers

When a non-tribal member steps onto the skatepark they will see an eagle, orca, canoe, and two phrases written in S’Klallam: “It becomes new,” and “We are Noo-Kayet S’Klallam.” “It becomes new” is the closest language equivalent to “Be the Change,” the Sheckler Foundation’s campaign.

It’s almost like a stamp. “You walk into that park, and the first thing you see is ‘Port Gamble S’Klallam,’ ”  Wisniewski said.

The artwork was a way to reflect the youth — not only as S’Klallam, but as the people who brought the skatepark into the community, he said. And that’s not being done in an exclusionary way, but as a way to show respect for the youths’ hard work.

“People have perceptions of Native people and communities,” Wisniewski said. “This park is something that kids who are Tribal members can invite their off-reservation friends to come visit. In doing so and sharing the park and the art, they will be able to share their community, culture and language. That is how the park and skateboarding will break down barriers.”

Already a lot of interest in park

The skatepark is technically open to the S’Klallam community and guests. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t growing interest in the park from outside of the community.

As boxes of spray paint cans and stencils were being pulled out of a supply shed so a few more artistic features could be added to the park, two men pulled into the adjacent parking lot. They wanted to know when the park would be open. Because painting was going on, they were turned away.

Apparently, interested skaters have become common at the park, which hasn’t officially opened.

Wisniewski said skateboarding is growing in popularity within Native American communities. A “cultural event,” he called it.

The skatepark will also give S’Klallam youth another recreational opportunity. Other than the skatepark, there is a playground, gym and basketball court. There is not a lot of recreation for older kids in Little Boston, Wisniewski said.

“If you don’t have a place for kids to do stuff, they won’t do it,” he said.

When finished, the S’Klallam skatepark will be one of four skateparks in the area. Other skateparks are located in Kingston, at Raab Park in Poulsbo, and at Clear Creek Park in Silverdale.

Nine Talented Native American Youth Artists Selected for SWAIA’s Inaugural NextGen Intensive Performing Arts Workshop

SWAIA’s NextGen Intensive Performing Arts Workshop will explore art, traditional and contemporary music and dance, and spoken word. Nine select Native youth will work with four artist mentors to create a stage production at The Lodge Hotel on November 17th.

Source: PRWeb

The NextGen SWAIA Intensive Performing Arts Workshop on November 16-17 will explore art, traditional and contemporary music and dance, and spoken word. Nine Native youth, Soorwhee Chewiwi (Isleta), Qootsvenma Denipah-Cook (Ohkay Owingeh), Chamisa Edd (Diné), Santana Edd (Diné), Sierra Edd (Diné), Ashleigh Hale (Prairie Band Potawatomi/Sioux), Thur-Shaan Montoya (Isleta Pueblo), Louvah Silver (Diné), and SWAIA Class X Film winner Forrest Goodluck (Diné/Mandan/Hidatsa/Tsimshian) have been selected to attend SWAIA’s inaugural program. Throughout the workshop weekend, the students will paint sets, write, sing, and dance under the mentorship of renowned Native artists and performers Brian Frejo, Louie Gong, Ehren Kee Natay, and Michelle St. John. The weekend will conclude with a performance on Sunday, November 17, 3 p.m. at The Lodge Hotel in Santa Fe. The performance is free and open to the public.

About the mentors:

Brian Frejo (Pawnee/Seminole) is a cultural activist, motivational speaker, youth advocate, actor, musician, photographer and DJ. He is a member of the Grammy–nominated drum group Young Bird and plays the Native American flute. Additionally, Frejo has appeared in over twenty feature films and television series in his career.

Louie Gong (Nooksack) is an educator, artist, and activist. Gong is the founder of Eighth Generation, which combines elements of Salish icons and urban pop culture to create art that speaks to questions and statements on identity and culture. Gong is known for his workshops around the world, his partnerships with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and has been featured on NBC News, in the New York Times, and Native Peoples Magazine. Gong was also named in Native Max Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Inspirational Natives: Past and Present.”

Ehren Kee Natay (Diné/Kewa) is a musician, dancer, actor, painter, and jeweler. Natay has toured the nation as a professional drummer and has been awarded various fellowships for his work as an artist, including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian Fellowship and the SWAIA/Heritage Hotels Rising Artists Fellowship. Natay designed t-shirts and merchandise for the 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market Artist Designed Collection.

Michelle St. John (Wampanoag) is a two-time Gemini Award winning actor with over 30 years of experience in film, theatre, voice, and music. Her film credits include Smoke Signals, Northern Exposure, and The Business of Fancy Dancing. For ten years she was the co-managing artistic director for the award winning play The Scrubbing Project and co-founded the Native women’s theatre company Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble based in Toronto. St. John is currently a producing partner for Frog Girl Films.

SWAIA Launches Intensive Performing Arts Workshop for Native Youth

gI_83247_szq4k.AuSt.39This fall, SWAIA is launching its first annual NextGen Intensive Performing Arts Workshop for Native youth led by renowned Native artists Brian Frejo, Louie Gong, Ehren Kee Natay and Michelle St. John.

Santa Fe, NM (PRWEB) September 23, 2013

NextGen SWAIA Intensive Performing Arts Workshop is a weekend program for Native youth (ages 12–18) that explores art, traditional and contemporary music and dance, and spoken word. A series of interactive workshops will take place from November 15-17. Participating youth will perform in front of an audience on Sunday (Nov 17) afternoon and during SWAIA’s Winter Indian Market (Nov 30). This exclusive opportunity will provide eight Native youth a unique opportunity to work with and learn from renowned Native artists and performers Brian Frejo, Louie Gong, Ehren Kee Natay, and Michelle St. John. Applications are due October 4, 2013.

Brian Frejo (Pawnee/Seminole) is a cultural activist, motivational speaker, youth advocate, actor, musician, photographer and DJ. He is a member of the Grammy–nominated drum group Young Bird and plays the Native American flute. Additionally, Frejo has appeared in over twenty feature films and television series in his career.

Louie Gong (Nooksack) is an educator, artist, and activist. Gong is the founder of Eighth Generation, which combines elements of Salish icons and urban pop culture to create one-of-a-kind shoes that speak to questions and statements on identity and culture. Gong is known for his workshops around the world, his partnerships with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and has been featured on NBC News, in the New York Times, and Native Peoples Magazine. Gong was also named in Native Max Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Inspirational Natives: Past and Present.”

Ehren Kee Natay (Diné/Kewa) is a musician, dancer, actor, painter, and jeweler. Natay has toured the nation as a professional drummer and has been awarded various fellowships for his work as an artist, including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian Fellowship and the SWAIA/Heritage Hotels Rising Artists Fellowship. Natay designed t-shirts and merchandise for the 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market Artist Designed Collection.

Michelle St. John (Wampanoag) is a two-time Gemini Award winning actor with over 30 years of experience in film, theatre, voice, and music. Her film credits include Smoke Signals, Northern Exposure, and The Business of Fancy Dancing. For ten years she was the co-managing artistic director for the award winning play The Scrubbing Project and co-founded the Native women’s theatre company Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble based in Toronto. St. John is currently a producing partner for Frog Girl Films.

NextGen SWAIA Intensive Performing Arts Workshop is open to eight Native students at no cost; all food, lodging, and supplies are provided. Applications are available at this link. Deadline is October 4, 2013.

Louie Gong Limited-Edition Posters Help Seattle’s Homeless Natives

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Those interested in helping Seattle’s homeless Native population can now do so by picking up a limited-edition, signed poster by Nooksack artist Louie Gong.

Proceeds from the posters, which are on sale at KessInHouse.com for $25 each, benefit Chief Seattle Club, an organization that provides food, services “a sacred space to nurture, affirm and renew the spirit of urban Native peoples.” The poster design is Gong’s “good morning” pattern, which features a pair of hummingbirds and a coffee cup that repeat seamlessly. (The pattern is currently the main motif of Gong’s new housewares line, and is featured on blankets, pillows, and shower curtains — check them out at eighthgeneration.com/collections/housewares.)

'Good morning' poster by Louie Gong
‘Good morning’ poster by Louie Gong

 

The 24″x36″ posters have been produced in a limited edition of 200, and each will be signed by Gong.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/17/louie-gong-limited-edition-posters-help-seattles-homeless-natives-151325

10 Back-to-School Items to Show Your Native Pride

Vincent Schilling, ICTMN

For students wanting to show some Native pride in school, here is a list of 10 pretty cool items to show some Native flavor.

A Beaded Pen

If you want to look slick taking your next test, jotting down notes or while biting the end and looking thoughtfully into space, you definitely want to get a beaded pen. Looking around online there are a few places, like Sun Country Traders, selling these modern marvels, as for me—I got mine at a powwow.

A pow wow is a great place to pick up Native goodies. (Vincent Schilling)
A pow wow is a great place to pick up Native goodies. (Vincent Schilling)

 

A Backpack

Imagine reaching for your books in class and bringing your Native-style backpack up on to your desk with a nice loud thunk. What better way to say, “yep, I’m Native and proud.”

There are some gorgeous—but sold out for the moment—back packs designed by Kevin Dakota Duncan at Painted Warrior Designs.

Painted Warrior Designs is an accessory and clothing company with designs by Kevin Dakota Duncan. (Painted Warrior Designs)
Painted Warrior Designs is an accessory and clothing company with designs by Kevin Dakota Duncan. (Painted Warrior Designs)

Some Awesome Native Earrings

Any Google search can turn up a 10-mile long result page on Native American earrings, but the folks at Tlicho and the Beyond Buckskin Boutique have some earlobe-adorning winners made by Native artisans in a range of prices. So poke another hole in those ears and get to class Native style!

These “Firework” earrings are blue dyed and natural porcupine quill. The online store is owned by the Tlicho Government for the Tlicho people. (Tlicho Online Store)
These “Firework” earrings are blue dyed and natural porcupine quill. The online store is owned by the Tlicho Government for the Tlicho people. (Tlicho Online Store)

 

A Native T-shirt

What better way to “teach” the masses about history and its alignment to your Native views than with a confrontational T-shirt? Just check out these designs from Noble Savage and their “Original Landlords” design and the OXDX folks and their “Don’t Trend On Me” and “Native Americans Discovered Columbus” designs.

OXDX is a Native-owned clothing line based in Chandler, Arizona. (OXDX)
OXDX is a Native-owned clothing line based in Chandler, Arizona. (OXDX)

 

Baseball Cap or Beanie

Native Threads have it on point with their selection of Native baseball caps and beanies. In all seriousness, I want one of each. These things are all that and a bag of chips out of the school vending machine—and you just happened to have exactly 65 cents.

The baseball caps and beanies sold by Native Threads, a Native-owned and operated clothing company, are the result of a grassroots entrepreneurial effort. (Native Threads)
The baseball caps and beanies sold by Native Threads, a Native-owned and operated clothing company, are the result of a grassroots entrepreneurial effort. (Native Threads)

 

Next Stop—Hoodie Time!

Having to choose between Beyond Buckskin’s Red Sea Hoodie designed by Tahltan artist Alano Edzerza and the black zip-up hoodie on the Native Threads website, I just might have to break down and get both before autumn starts working its way into the weather forecasts. No matter what, you are sure to look like a hip Native student.

This Red Sea Hoodie was designed by Tahltan artist Alano Edzerza for the Beyond Buckskin Boutique, a place for American Indian designers to showcase their work. (Beyond Buckskin Boutique)
This Red Sea Hoodie was designed by Tahltan artist Alano Edzerza for the Beyond Buckskin Boutique, a place for American Indian designers to showcase their work. (Beyond Buckskin Boutique)

 

Mineral-Based Cosmetics

Those students wishing to accent their looks can venture over to Kamamak, an aboriginal-owned cosmetics company. According to the site, these cosmetics are infused with the Native culture of North America, and are a modern, fun, sophisticated take on cosmetic art.

Kamamak Cosmetics is an aboriginal-owned cosmetics line. Their products are mineral-based and paraben-free. (Kamamak Cosmetics)
Kamamak Cosmetics is an aboriginal-owned cosmetics line. Their products are mineral-based and paraben-free. (Kamamak Cosmetics)

 

A Good Book

Some teachers may not have extensive knowledge of Native American culture and history, with a good book on hand, you can teach the teacher if you do a report on a good Native book. Two good places to find great Native titles are Birchbark Books and Native Voices Books. Of course the library is always free for older titles.

These titles are all published by Native Voices Books to preserve the history, culture and stories of Native people. (Native Voices Books)
These titles are all published by Native Voices Books to preserve the history, culture and stories of Native people. (Native Voices Books)

 

A Craft Project

As an artist raised by grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community in a shack with no running water, Louie Gong, (Nooksack, Squamish, Chinese, French and Scottish) has overcome considerable odds to become one of the nation’s most successful shoe artists. He’s created what he calls the “mock-up,” a cool shoe-mold craft project for budding artists.

So if you want to try your hand at crafting a Native style, you should get yourself a mock-up to stand out from the crowd with your next craft assignment. Mock-ups are a do-it-yourself toy and are made of vinyl. According to Gong, “The advantage to the vinyl surface of mockups is that you can apply almost any medium to it—pencil, colored pencil, crayons, spray paint or you can add sculpting material. They are very versatile. You can erase just about anything too.”

So go get crafty!

These mock-ups were designed by Louie Gong, who created the shoe/craft project. (GetMockups.com)
These mock-ups were designed by Louie Gong, who created the shoe/craft project. (GetMockups.com)

 

Barrettes and Bolo Ties

Etsy website Native bead crafter DeanCouchie has a vast selection of bolo ties and NorthwestBeadwork has an impressive collection of customized coin purses, arm cuffs and even a Batman beaded barrette, there is no excuse to go to school sans beaded-something.

This Batman barrette was beaded by Stephanie Pinkham, Nez Perce, who runs an Etsy shop called NorthwestBeadwork. (NorthwestBeadwork)
This Batman barrette was beaded by Stephanie Pinkham, Nez Perce, who runs an Etsy shop called NorthwestBeadwork. (NorthwestBeadwork)

See you in the halls decked out in beaded gear and Native style accouterment.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/11/10-back-school-items-show-your-native-pride-151219

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers

Kate Crowley, Jezebel.com

Imagine this: After producing an event offensive to Native Americans, Paul Frank is now working with Native American artists and designers — going from cultural appropriation to cultural appreciation.

This time of year about 150,000 people descend on Santa Fe, New Mexico for Indian Market and it’s a pretty big deal as leaders and artists from the United States and Canada get together for an extreme exchange of creative thoughts. This past Friday evening before the official start of Indian Market, about 200 fashion-forward folks gathered at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts to celebrate the release of the “Paul Frank Presents” collection, featuring work by four Native designers.

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers

Unlike previous get togethers, this one didn’t include tomahawks, “war paint,” or cocktails with tacky neo-native names. Instead it celebrated a high profile “win” for all who challenge cultural appropriation.

The event launched the collection and included a panel discussion and receptions with some of the movers and shakers involved in the Paul Frank/Beyond Buckskin/Native Appropriations saga proved that sometimes social change can be an outcome of fashion design, blogging, and community action. Whoa. The event centered on a dynamite panel with the collection’s designers (Candace Halcro, Plains Cree/Metis, Louie Gong, Nooksack, Autumn Dawn Gomez, Comanche/Taos and Dustin Quinn Martin, Navajo), powerful female writers and bloggers Adrienne Keene, Cherokee, and Jessica Metcalfe, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, and VP of Design for Paul Frank, Tracy Bunkoczy.

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers

Part academic, part celebration, the atmosphere at the beginning of the event was serious: a quick 10-minute rehash of previous events, including the party Paul Frank held where Native appropriation was flaunted, in front a mostly Native crowd was likely the source of Bunkoczy’s cautious nervousness. “It must be hard to sit here and listen to this over and over again,” Keene playfully said of the rehash to the group in attendance from Paul Frank. However Keene also noted that the ladies from Paul Frank really spent extra time working with Metcalf, Keene and the artists to make the collaboration line a reality.

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers

“This happened because of people in the Native American community and our allies who want us to be represented properly in popular culture,” said Dr. Metcalfe.

“I’m not used to there being any sort of response back to me….I was just blown away, ” says Keene of Paul Frank’s large-scale action, which included facilitating a licensing webinar for those in the industry as well as extensive action on items that had already been licensed.

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers2

After a recap of the previous transgressions, the artists spoke to the audience about their work for the collaboration inspiring laughter and head-nodding from the audience. Gomez, wearing a crown from her Paul Frank line, stressed a duty to her community while Gong said his work for the line was directly inspired by the situation that led to the collaboration including “sustainable relationships.” Canadian designer Candace Halcro, with a hairstyle that likely was the inspiration for Miley’s new ‘do, said she loves looking “crazy and cool and trendy.” She’s known as the “sunglasses girl,” and experimented with how to incorporate Julius, the Paul Frank mascot before deciding to stay true to her brand’s most well known look. Dustin Quinn Martin, the first designer to speak ended his portion with this thought: “I hope especially the Native people in the crowd are proud of what we came up with, and feel like there’s a little bit of us in every single one of these designs and that we didn’t sell out to the man.”

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers

Indeed, you might be wondering what the deal with profits is here, since it was earlier noted that the designers “consulted” for free. At the event it was revealed that the designers themselves will receive the profits from the new line, but also that much of the work concerning the manufacturing and creation of the items was left to the artists. This wasn’t out of the norm for the female designers, since none of their work can easily be mass-produced. Still, the items showcasing the graphics that the male designers created essentially needed to be outsourced for mass production. “Normal” Paul Frank collaborations involve a split of the profits between the company and the other designer. This time around Paul Frank will not profit from the sales and all of the profits from the collection will go to each of the designers. The items are sold through the Beyond Buckskin Boutique and the Paul Frank items at the MoCNA seemed to be selling well and attracting attention this weekend.

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers

Autumn Dawn Gomez; Dustin Martin; Candace Halcro.

The crowd was a who’s who of creatives in Indian Country and Santa Fe. Just like any other fashion party, guests were anxious to mingle, meet the designers and try on items from the line. This time though, everyone in attendance was appreciative of the work and aware of what can happen when a community challenges appropriation.

After Offensive Fiasco, Paul Frank Collaborates With Native Designers

The artists and panelists pose with the Paul Frank crew.

Kate Crowley is a blogger in the Southwest who writes for New Times’ Chow Bella and Jackalope Ranch blogs. Follow her on Twitter: @KateCrowley.

Paul Frank To Unveil Fashion Collaboration with Native American Designers during Santa Fe Indian Market Week

The highly anticipated “Paul Frank Presents” Limited Edition collection will be revealed this week during a special event at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

PAUL FRANK NATIVE AMERICAN DESIGNERSSource: Paul Frank

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Paul Frank, in partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), is pleased to announce the debut of its first ever collaboration with four Native American designers during Santa Fe Indian Market this week. The fashion collection will be showcased during a panel and event held at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Friday, August 16 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The “Paul Frank Presents” collection will also be available for purchase at the IAIA MoCNA store.

To kick off the event, MoCNA Director Patsy Phillips will introduce a panel entitled, Beyond the “Tribal Trend”: Developing Proactive Native American Collaboration in Fashion. The panel will feature Jessica Metcalfe of the Beyond Buckskin blog and Beyond Buckskin Boutique, Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations and Tracy Bunkoczy, Paul Frank’s VP of Design as they discuss the brand collaboration, the background story and creation of the collection and the development of proactive Native partnerships in the fashion world.

After the panel, each of the designers will present their products and talk about their personal inspiration for the collaboration. These Native American designers include Louie Gong of Eighth Generation, Autumn Dawn Gomez of The Soft Museum, Candace Halcro of Brownbeaded, and Dustin Martin of S.O.L.O. The “Paul Frank Presents” fashion collection includes a printed tote, pillow and throw blanket by Louie Gong, five collections of Hama bead jewelry by Autumn Dawn Gomez, authentic Paul Frank hand-beaded sunglasses by Candace Halcro and a variety of tees, tanks and bandanas by Dustin Martin.

“This collaboration has been an opportunity for us to help raise awareness about cultural misappropriations, which unfortunately happen too often in product, promotion and fashion,” said Elie Dekel, President of Saban Brands. “Our partnership with these four talented Native American designers was the direct result of our own awakening to this issue from our Paul Frank Fashion’s Night Out event back in September of 2012. We hope this ‘Paul Frank Presents’ collaboration will demonstrate more appropriate ways to engage and celebrate the Native American communities.”

These products are now available for purchase at the IAIA MoCNA store, the websites of the contributing designers and also on shop.beyondbuckskin.com. For additional information about this collection, please visit www.paulfrank.com.

About Paul Frank

Acquired in 2010 by Saban Brands, Paul Frank began in 1997 as an independent accessories company in a Southern California beach town. The brand has steadily grown to become a globally recognized, iconic brand that features artistic and entertaining designs inspired by a love of avant-garde, modern influences and everyday objects. By creating relationships through exciting collaborations and strategic licensing partnerships, Paul Frank merchandise includes apparel and accessories for all ages, books, stationery, eyewear, home decor, bicycles and more. To see what’s new and exciting at Paul Frank, visit www.paulfrank.com.

About Saban Brands

Formed in 2010 as an affiliate of Saban Capital Group, Saban Brands (SB) was established to acquire and develop a world-class portfolio of properties and capitalize on the company’s experience, track record and capabilities in growing and monetizing consumer brands through content, media and marketing.  SB applies a global omni-channel management approach to enhancing and extending its brands in markets worldwide and to consumers of all ages.  The company provides full-service management, marketing, promotion and strategic business development for its intellectual properties including comprehensive strategies unique to each brand, trademark and copyright management and enforcement, creative design, retail development, direct-to-consumer initiatives and specialized property extensions.  SB is led by a superior management team with decades of experience in media, content creation, branding, licensing, marketing and finance. SB’s portfolio of properties currently includes Power Rangers, Paul Frank, Vortexx, Zui.com, The Playforge, Julius Jr., Digimon Fusion and Popples. For more information, visit www.sabanbrands.com.

About the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

The mission of the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA), a center of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), is to advance contemporary native art through exhibitions, collections, public programs and scholarship. MoCNA’s outreach through local and national collaborations allows us to continue to present the most progressive Native art and public programming. MoCNA’s exhibitions and programs continue the narrative of contemporary Native arts and cultures. MoCNA is located at 108 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe, NM 87501. For more information please contact: (505) 983-1666 or visit www.iaia.edu/museum. For the MoCNA store, please call (888) 922-4242 or email shop@iaia.edu.

About IAIA

For 50 years, the Institute of American Indian Arts has played a leading role in the direction and shape of Native expression. As it has grown and evolved into an internationally acclaimed college, museum and community and tribal support resource through the Center for Lifelong Education, IAIA’s dedication to the study and advancement of Native arts and cultures is matched only by its commitment to student achievement and the preservation and progress of the communities they represent. Learn more about our achievements and mission at www.iaia.edu.