The Shifts Indigenous Fashion Over Time
Indigenous cultures have evolved as society has modernized over time. While members of indigenous cultures’ skin can act as a canvas for expression—just like indigenous clothing itself—today we will be focusing on indigenous men’s fashion.
As for specific styles, some men wore belts with breechclouts and used robes of skin for warmth in the colder seasons.
There are various cultures within indigenous people, it is historically common that their clothing was often made with natural materials. Animal skin is a significant part of indigenous fashion. Animals that inhabited the areas where indigenous people lived, such as deer, antelope, sheep and rabbits, served as resources for clothing production.
In regions and tribes where textiles were more common, fibers were often gathered from plants. Animal products, such as strips of rabbit skin, were also used to weave items of clothing. Weaving was a textiles technique used to produce clothing from Alaska all the way down to the border of Mexico.
Plant and animal materials were the crucial foundations of an indigenous man’s clothing. Like the images many of us may have in our minds when we think of indigenous fashion, embellishments did play a significant role. Embellishments and accessories tended to be naturally sourced such as feathers.
These embellishments were often colored with pigments derived from plants and minerals. Jewelry was made with bones and shells.
The environment was a main driving force for clothing production.
In today’s society, many traditional styles have been kept throughout various tribes. In addition, designers with indigenous descent have now stepped up to shed light onto their cultures through fashion.
Modern designs often transcend the designs to a space where the public have easy access to it.
Hand of Soloman is a modern label by Louise Solomon, who designs jewelry. Many of her pieces utilize nature-related motifs, such as wolf claws, flowers, buffalo skulls and more.
With many more labels like Solomon’s coming into the market, we gain more opportunities to learn about the histories of and changes in indigenous fashion.