March 10th, 2015 Last Updated on: March 10th, 2015
With the powwow season about to kick off with Denver March next weekend, there's a lot more than we're used to going on in the Mile High City.
Native Max Magazine and the Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their second annual Native Fashion in the City event on March 20th, in a showcase that will display the work of some of the best designers, models and artists from all around Indian Country.
Kelly Holmes (Lakota from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota) is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Native Max Magazine, the country’s first Native American fashion magazine. Native Max Magazine has evolved into a modern lexicon of Native American art, culture and fashion. What started out as a publication has now spawned into a brand with numerous methods of promoting exposure for talented Natives all over the United States and Canada. Despite not having gone to college, Kelly learned the inner workings of the fashion industry by means of modeling, designing, and styling ever since the young age of 16. Although based in Denver, CO, Kelly often travels throughout the country searching for stories and promoting Native Max. Since her time exploring the fashion industry, Kelly has continued to work in fashion & media (print, web, social media and creative consulting) and founded Native Max Magazine. A first of its kind, Native Max Magazine is a fashion & lifestyle magazine that covers today's top trends paralleled with Native American-made fashion designs, accessories and jewelry. Kelly interweaves her loves for fashion and Native culture by writing fashion stories for Native Max and other outlets. Kelly considers herself a freelance creative type; writer and stylist, but no singular title encompasses all that she does, has done, or aims to do.
We took some time to talk to Kelly and hear all about Native Fashion in the City, so let's get into it!
Where did the idea for Native Fashion in the City come from?
“Last year, I was approached by the Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce about possibly hosting a fashion show at their annual Indian Biz Expo here in Denver, CO. I wanted a name for the event that pertained to Denver's unique and thriving Native American community, and obviously something to do with the city. Hence the name, ‘Native Fashion in the City'.”
Being that the event is during the powwow, is it something that everyone will enjoy? By not only appealing to the spectators and creatives, but the powwow crowd, as well?
“At first, I only expected people who have interests in fashion and art to attend the event. I didn't have any great expectations of the number of people who would see the show. But as the show started, I was really surprised to see the size of the audience. There were both Natives and non-Natives of all ages, regions and walks of life. After the event, everyone came up to me and congratulated me on producing such an empowering and unique event. The Natives admitted that this fashion show was unlike anything in Indian Country and that our purpose was actually promoting everyone; then they rushed off to the powwow for grand entry. But the versatility and excitement of the audience inspired me to plan another event this year.”
What can we expect to see at the NFITC event?
“This year's event is definitely bigger and better than last year's. I feel like some fashion shows in Indian Country today sort of lose their initial purpose of promoting designers, models, photographers and stylists. With this event, we're putting the focus on all the participants of the show. This year, I've invited shop and boutique owners to scout for things for their inventory, a few talent and model agents to scout models; even hair and makeup bloggers to check out the stylists and the hair and makeup of the show. You can also expect to see magazine editors, bloggers, stylists, journalists, photographers, members of the media as well as influential figures of the Denver community, of both fashion and not; all checking out, reporting on and covering the event and the participants of the show. They all want to see what Native fashion is all about. We got swag bags together that are filled with goodies from both Native and non Native businesses and companies. That right there is a great way to promote your Native business to the Denver community. This year, it's all about the presentation and substance. We want to show everyone that Natives are capable of hosting and executing an event this complexed. We also have three days of different activities for everyone involved in the runway show.”
Where do you see the event going in the next few years?
“I'm seeing this turning into a multi-day festival or showcase of fashion, art and culture. After last year's event, the reputation for it grew, and we had people ask if we were going to do it again, so it definitely turned into an annual event. Like I said, a multi-day event, maybe even the whole weekend. In conjunction with the Indian Biz Expo and Denver March Powwow, this whole week in Denver can appeal to everyone and anyone. In the next few years, Native Fashion in the City may turn into an organization with an even bigger timeline of events; somehow maybe involving the youth. I'm not sure at this point, but I'm definitely determined to make NFITC an annual event, adding more and more to it every year.”
Casting calls for designers, models, makeup artists and hairstylists have already taken place, but if you have an interest in fashion or the visual arts, you definitely need to check out Native Fashion in the City! The event takes place on March 20th, starting at 1:30 pm at the Double Tree Hotel, with the runway show at [5:30], and you can consider submitting for next year!
Thank you to Kelly Holmes and Native Max Magazine for the information and brief interview. See you in Denver!
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