Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!
Design your world by stepping outside of your comfort zone. I recall one remarkable moment at the beauty salon, two women were chatting about the school system and what they are feeding to our children. She giggled to her sister about her son discussing with her about how Australia became colonized. Challenging him — How did the people arrive there? Son: “they were prisoners.” She then asked him if it made sense to send prisoners all the way to Australia and he went silent. He had as Oprah would say an “aha” moment. She made him think about the information fed to him in school. She then told her girlfriend she didn’t want her kid blindly digesting information without questioning it first. What I loved was how she gave him the tools to design his world by telling him not to be passive in how he received information. It was completely okay to respectfully challenge authority, derive your own opinions and to understand information is power — institutions will omit and insert as they choose. It is up to you to seek and fill in the rest of the story.
Rightfully so, all over social media people are posting Happy Indigenous Day from Princess Nokia to clothing label B.Yellowtail. Native Americans designed the Americas and we owe tremendous gratitude to them. Earlier this year for my birthday was a countdown in music. I gleefully booked work for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook for Laura Mvula to India Arie — talk about a birthday countdown! I worked as wardrobe support for Buffy Sainte-Marie, an artist I was unfamiliar with at the time; she was self sufficient queen who did not need tending to so I went in to check on her band. They were rocking their stellar tribal gear and I offered to prep them for the show. The gentleman gave me his apron and said why not even though he really didn’t need anything. I think he realized I was searching for work to do. I gave it a good pressing [ it seriously didn’t need it] went back to the band’s dressing to hand it over. He held it up exclaimed it was remarkable and rewarded me with the biggest hug! He exuded such power, grace, resilience, and ever abundant in love. To be in their presence was to walk away wanting to be a better person. It was such a powerful show. Everyone got lifted that evening.
On my way home I decided to do my homework. Her style was remarkable from her wardrobe, being a self taught musician with dyslexia (she never knew she had it), signature guitar, and a string of accolades. I was completely fascinated by her accomplishments, fire, and tenacity as not only a woman but one of color.
The entire experience of the performance and subway research made me think of myself differently as a creative. We have so much wealth around us that often times, more than not, we often wait for the perfect time to get started. The perfect time is now. To understand your purpose is to start researching yourself; your family history, your country, your personal experiences to uncover your own story and then step outside of your comfort zone to understand the story of other cultures. To design for a better world — you have to know who you are and how you fit in the grand scheme of things. We wouldn’t want to destroy the world more than we already have. We need to protect it for the next generation.
Here are a few tips for creatives to help design for a better world:
Regarding play and creativity:
Keep your nose on the joy trail and you will reach the world in a different way.
— Buffy Sainte-Marie
Regarding leadership and humanity.
It’s not about race. It is about leadership.
Understand your purpose. Embrace your uniqueness.
Each one of us is so unique we have to learn how to treasure each other. There is no competition. It is not a contest.
- Buffy Sainte-Marie
We write the menu:
Some will tell you what you really want isn’t on the menu. Don’t believe them. Cook it up yourself and then prepare to serve them. That is how they will learn. Don’t stand in the kitchen and bitch that no one is making what you want. Make it then show them how wonderful it is. — Buffy Sainte-Marie
Every Columbus Day —how about everyday, pick up a book, go to a museum, support the arts, and creatives of the first designers of the Americas — the Indigenous people. Do so for other cultures as well. As an African American woman it has encouraged me to dig further to study my family roots. You will walk away wanting to learn more about your own culture and take better steps to impact not only your communities but the world as a whole.
Here are some pics from my visit to the Native Fashion Now Exhibition to send you on your merry way.
Stay Fashion Conscious.
Move Fashion Forward. ©