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FROM POWWOWS TO “PROJECT RUNWAY”? Could AD DESIGNS be the next Native Fashion Star Someday?

Posted By PowWows.com October 13th, 2014 Last Updated on: October 13th, 2014

Adrian Matthias Stevens

Adrian Matthias Stevens

Native Designers are rising in the fashion world. “Project Runway” has featured Native designers, and if they haven't already discovered AD DESIGNS, we hope they will! See for yourself in this enlightening interview!  We're sure you'll agree!

Could Talented Adrian Matthias Stevens end up on "Project Runway" someday? We sure hope so!

Could Talented Adrian Matthias Stevens end up on “Project Runway” someday? We sure hope so!

Interview by Dr. Dawn Karima, PhD, Native American Culture Editor

Adrian Matthias Stevens is dedicated to his dancing!

Adrian Matthias Stevens is dedicated to his dancing!

Q) We're thrilled to meet you and see your gorgeous designs! You surely should be on “Project Runway” ! You are so talented!

A) I want to first say that it is indeed an honor and a privilege to have this opportunity at this point in my life and to be able to do the work that I do and to share this with you and the audience. I am truly thankful to be able to visit with you and allowing me to share my story with all of Indian Country is indeed a pleasure.

My name is Adrian Matthias Stevens, a name my mother gave me. When I was in the third grade my teacher started calling me A.D. and it has sort of stuck with me all this time and even to the point of me identifying my design firm as A.D Designs (facebook.com/AD.design).

AD DESIGNS fantastic fashions!

AD DESIGNS fantastic fashions!

Creative and culturally authentic designs by Adrian Matthias Stevens!

Creative and culturally authentic designs by Adrian Matthias Stevens!

Q) What is your Native heritage? What are some of your favorite things about your tribe?

A) I was born and raised just north of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation – at the foothills of the Uintah Mountain range in Northeastern Utah. On my maternal side I am Northern Ute, and on my paternal side I am, Shoshone-Bannock, French Canadian, San Carlos Apache, Maricopa and Irish.

My heritage is very important to me and I have learned a great deal form my parents, grandparents and extended family including adopted grandparents whom all continue to provide me support and encouragement. I firmly believe that being able to learn and understand the skills and beliefs that our ancestors left for us all, to use in this modern life, is critically important for to carry and teach the children including all elements of the rich culture, rituals, language, and faith. I also live my life practicing these ways that create that strength within us as young, Native American individuals. This is all to prepare us for what the creator has in store for us that way we may go out into our everyday lives and practice all things that are good through our traditional teachings. I remember growing up and always looking forward to bear dance season. A springtime celebration of the Ute people, I remember seeing the community preparing for this annual activity. Woman would be getting their wing style ribbon dresses together with high top moccasins or leggings, and then draping their hand tied shawls over their shoulders as the men would bring out their best beaded accessories (vest, bolo ties, gloves, bracelets, cuffs, and moccasins). This was a time for coming out of your homes from the winter season, socializing and sharing stories, as we prepared for spring.

Adrian Matthias Stevens!

Adrian Matthias Stevens!

Q) Since your traditions are so precious to you, your beautiful dancing surely shows how much you love your heritage!
A) Dancing for me is very important as I grew up in the pow-wow circle. My parents are pow wow people and as a child I have fond memories of being together, traveling and enjoying the camaraderie among other traveling families and friends. I also remember when I was younger my mother always had encouraging words and other lessons for me. She would often provide guidance with sincere caring and would often say “…always give meaning to what you’re dancing for, remember those that you dance for, friends, family and others that enjoy the good feeling you bring to them through your dancing”. She would remind me when I was preparing to dance that when in this arena there will always be those that are watching the way you move around and carry yourself in this way of life. So with every pow-wow I go to I always find that meaning she taught me when I was around an elder, an ill relative or friend, and sometimes a stranger. My mother would often tell me, “Sometimes people come to pow-wows to find healing through singing and drumming and watching the movement of the dancers. This often brings good feelings to them, because we don’t know what they may be experiencing in their lives”. They may be going through issues with heartache, an illness or other ailments that aren’t so apparent, but they are drawn to the singing, drumming and dancing to find that peace of mind, comfort and healing. She also reminded me how healthy and able bodied I am. It is these teachings that I always reflect on that bring important meaning to all that I do including my dancing.

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Q)Do you sense a spiritual shift when you wear your regalia? You dance so beautifully!

A) When changing from my everyday clothes to my dance outfit I feel a sense of identity, and pride because I am well aware of all the time, energy, prayers and well wishes that have gone into making of each piece. I get excited once my whole outfit is in place and that all the worries of the world seem to magically disappear, my soul becomes tranquil. Sometimes you know people that came specifically to watch you dance hard and they even put offerings at your feet to encourage you to dance harder, they came to see and support you, that only adds to the excitement. I also always remember as I step out in the arena to always have fun.

Adrien always enjoys the fun side of Powwows!

Adrian always enjoys the fun side of Powwows!

Q)  What led you to start dancing? Why did you choose your dance style?

A) I started dancing when I was about 7 or 8 years old. My parents started me out as a Northern Traditional dancer but in my early teen years I knew I wanted to become a Grass dancer. I was drawn to this style of dance because of the energy and movement that I was feeling, I connected with this and with the love and support from my family, and I started Grass dancing.

 facebook.com/AD.design

facebook.com/AD.design

Q) Do you think Powwows have life lessons for those who attend? What do you hope that they will discover about Native People and Culture?

A) I believe people of all races and nationalities are drawn to whatever they are drawn to for a purpose. I believe they are looking for meaning when they come to a dance and as spectators I think they could learn many things. An understanding of not only the modern Native American, but also the traditional Native American that has a way of moving about in the arena. They are able to take away that feeling, that emotion that drew them there in the first place. They are able through their mere presence to witness the togetherness of family, the meaning of spiritual respect and Native pride. I think people will see that our ways have been and always will be alive and thriving in today’s modern world. It gives me great pleasure to be able to evoke these feelings in all people, from family and friends to people I have never met before.

Powerful powwow traditions!

Powerful powwow traditions!

Q) What do you think makes a powwow or dance a good one? What are some of your favorite ceremonies, powwows or dances?

A) A large part of a successful pow wow is a result of the amount of community involvement that brings in many people from neighboring tribes. When a pow wow committee gets support from families and other entities to sponsor special contests for singers and dancers also contributes to a successful pow-wow. These types of additional activities often bring in a larger singing/dancing crowd as well as a larger spectator audience that create additional opportunities to socialize and meet old friends and family and make new friends.

A dynamic Powwow family legacy!

A dynamic Powwow family legacy!

A successful pow wow also includes the support of exceptional singers and drummers. We often forget that these individuals are performing live, and the skill and ability to sing for hours on end at the levels they do is amazing. As a dancer I fully appreciate their level of expertise in providing me the songs that lift me up and allow me to dance my best.

Dancers and singers along with their families have chosen the pow wow way of life to teach, learn and incorporate strong family values. I have made this choice for myself as well, and I have been able to expose and promote A.D. Designs and personally introduce the brand. This experience has been great to engage with people who love and support my work.

Stylish AD DESIGNS!

Stylish AD DESIGNS!

Q) What do you wish we knew about you that we don't already know?

A) I want everyone to understand me as a person. I want them to know of the passion I posses in creating my products. Because they are much more than just a product, each piece is intricately designed as a work of art. I also want to share my talent with everyone because I am honored and humbled when I am able to see my work out in Indian Country and beyond.

I also want people to know and understand what drives me. My history and upbringing, all the conversations with the elders in my life as well as all my relatives drives me to do my best in all that I do. I am truly passionate.

Native Power and Passion!

Native Power and Passion!

Q) Mvto…thank you for your sharing with us! We sure do appreciate you!

A) Thank you! For more information visit facebook.com/AD.design

 

 facebook.com/AD.design

facebook.com/AD.design

Powwows to "Project Runway"??? Is is it possible for AD DESIGNS?

Powwows to “Project Runway”??? Is is it possible for AD DESIGNS?

 

 


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Martha Addison

I received one of your beautiful purses for Christmas a couple of years ago. I love this bag, and want more. I received many compliments when I do carry it. I’m asked where I purchased it. Since it was a gift I don’t know where to find it. Where can I find a purse? I live in Anadarko, Oklahoma, is there a place to purchase the bag in my area.

Adrian Matthias Stevens

Thank You all my Family and Friends. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the deep, heart felt love and support you’ve all shown me. I will continue to pursue my dream for as long as I have this type of support system. We as a whole Native Community can make our awareness known, even at a contemporary angle.
That being said, I will proudly represent us as a community to my best of my ability.
-Adrian M. Stevens

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