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Trend Inspiration: Tapping into Native American Style


Earlier this year a cover featuring Michelle Williams by British magazine AnOther caused controversy with media and bloggers. Williams donned long braids, beads and a feather in her hair was obviously styled with strong lean towards the look of a Native American Indian. The cover went viral and blogs labelled it ‘offensive’, ‘racist’ and ‘stereotypical’ and demanded an apology. New York based online magazine Refinery29 slated the cover, stating: ‘We can’t believe how offensive Michelle Williams’ latest cover is.’

Adding further fuel to the fire Karlie Kloss worked the Victoria’s Secret catwalk show in a bikini, styled with a full-length feather head-dress and turquoise jewellery. Victoria’s Secret was forced to apologise and The Huffington Post added: ‘While not everyone might be offended, there have been all too many instances of fashion professionals ruffling feathers with ill-conceived Native American-inspired projects.’

While some find the idea of using Native American Imagery and style abhorrent and insensitive to a culture that was inhumanely wiped-out others see it as a celebration of life and style of times past and no worse than dipping into cultures or historical archives elsewhere around the globe. One could argue that the popular ‘military style’ is condoning war and all its activities but this is fashion and surely the basis of an inspiration or an idea is not meant to be taken so literally?

Whether in agreement or not Native American style can be found littered across fashion, jewellery and accessories this season. From heavily fringed suede bags to feather and diamond ikat Aztec prints, references can be found from high-end to high street. Steven Onida from NativeAmericanJewelry.com said: “This year American Indian jewellery styles are more popular than ever, no matter what this year’s fashion trends bring, this jewellery is sure to be among 2013’s must-have accessories.” 2012 saw an explosion in demand for turquoise and Native American jewellery and that trend is continuing to rise. Onida adds that “this style of jewellery is also timeless and an important part of American art and history.”

Here is just a selection of items currently tapping into the look in stores now…



Joe Browns@eBay fashion gallery turquoise stone bracelet, £11.95 http://www.ebay.co.uk/fashion/gallery                                                      

Uttam Boutique@eBay fashion gallery cream Aztec dress, £14.99 http://www.ebay.co.uk/fashion/gallery

Boohoo@eBay fashion gallery Aimee tassel cross body bag in tan, was £20 now £12 http://www.ebay.co.uk/fashion/gallery

Navajo Dream Catcher Feather Turquoise Hook Earrings www.nativeamericanjewellery.com $41.99

American Indian – Broken Arrow Dress by Traffic People www.trafficpeople.co.uk £59.00



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