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Oftentimes, doing what we love and feel our purpose is can lead to amazing discoveries of personal growth and opportunity.
Please allow me to explain. As a professional dressmaker and fashion designer I have the pleasure of working with individuals and small business owners from around the country and now world. Recently, I was contacted by First Nations, Cherokee Bear Clan Indian member Blue Eagle about creating a special project from Quebec, Canada. Blue Eagle is of French Canadian, Pawnee, Algonquin and Abenakis decent, he's also a well respected Shaman, vocal artist and businessman. He read one of my articles about organic and sustainable fashion and decided I could help with his project of creating a very special garment, authentic to Indian dress, symbolic and of the earth.
I must admit upon speaking with him and understanding the requirements I was a bit leary if I could provide the service, but I wanted to try. The job hit close to home. My race in our society is declared as Black when in fact my heritage is Cherokee and Sioux. I didn't know much about native Indian dress but always believed I should, so when the opportunity presented itself I took it.
There was a catch for me completing the project and producing the garment requested, I would receive no guidance on the design or color, only that the fabric had to be organic hemp because of it's earthy properties. Needless to say I was a bit puzzled that a First Nations Clan would contact a Black woman in the United States to fulfill such a task.
I felt there was a reason and deeper meaning to this unusual request and so I accepted and began my work, researching and learning all I could about this authentic dress called the "Ribbon Shirt", the meaning of colors for the Indian culture and the meaning of measurement and space. I produced two garments but gained invaluable knowledge that's connected me to a part of my heritage explaining the person I am today; my insatiable connection to the earth, my drive to create the businesses I now own, my dedication to creating beauty, seeking collaborations and protecting the efforts of people working together to create good.
Organic Hemp fabric from Austria
The goal behind the project was for me to create prototypes, patterns and spec/tech packs for manufacturing allowing the Clan to produce the garment in large quantities. I'm pleased with the results.
I'm thankful that the Nation and Blue Eagle had the confidence in me to produce the item they were seeking. I'm even more thankful for the opportunity to learn more about who I am and grow as a person through an unlikely alliance.