By BROOKLYN BROWN
One Feather Reporter
CHEROKEE, N.C. – The fifth annual Kananesgi Fashion Show was held on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 4 in the Event Center of the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. The 2023 Kananesgi Fashion Show featured collections from 20 designers including Sharon Bradley, The Little People/Snowy’s Design Shop; Kenny Glass, Kenny Glass Designs; Terri Henry; Ayosta Lossie; Betty Maney, Betty Maney Gallery; Tara McCoy; Keredith Owens; Aisha Owle, Aisha Creation Co.; Amy Postoak, Three Sisters Design & Supply; Faith Long-Presley, Ganvhida Designs, LLC.; Lori Reed; Freida Saylor; Chi Shipman, Chi Shipman Designs; Kimberly Smith, Tali Elohi; Laura Smith; Mary Welch Thompson, Cherokee Baskets & Vessels; Deb West, Alica Wildcatt, Greybeard Metal Smithing; Blythe Winchester, BW Creations; and Paula Wojtkowski, Unapologetically Rez.
The Kananesgi Art Market was also held in the Event Center earlier in the day, with beautiful art and vendors including: Jenn Bird, Dorine George, Letitia George, Butch Goings, Ed Goings, Lauren Goings, Louise Goings, Charlie Jumper, Jacob Long, Waylon and Michelle Long, Faith Long-Presley, Ramona Lossie, Sharon McCoy, Tara McCoy, Toby McCoy, Nancy Pheasant, Amy Postoak, Dean Reed, Mona Taylor, Monique Taylor, Mary Thompson, Elvia Walkingstick, and Levi West. The Kananesgi Fashion Trunk Show was held in the Event Center on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 5, where pieces from the fashion show were available for purchase.
The Fashion Show was hosted by Yona Wade who thanked the many talented makeup artists and hair stylists, marketing and production crew, as well as the show sponsors including the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute, Authentically Cherokee, Harrah’s Cherokee Tribal Scholarship Fund, Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos, the Center for Native Health, the Sequoyah Fund, the Chief Joyce Dugan Cultural Arts Center at Cherokee Central Schools, and Kananesgi.
The show began with Tara McCoy’s collection. Tara’s collection featured bold colors and earth tones, including bright reds, gold, black and brown interwoven with Cherokee pottery-inspired designs from her own pottery work and the work of her son, Toby McCoy
Next was the works of Paula Wojtkowski, Unapologetically Rez, who combined shades of blue and white and intricate designs of flowing circles. Perhaps most notable was her tracksuit modeled by Steven Straughn.
Laura Smith shared a bold collection of pieces with her design “Tribal Lands,” which features the geographic territories of the Qualla Boundary, Snowbird and Cherokee County.
Aisha Owle, owner of Aisha Creation Co., displayed wet look vinyl fabric with her own graphic art patterns. Owle has quickly forged her own signature style in contemporary Cherokee art.
Terri Henry shared an impressively large collection of unique looks, each with their own outstanding piece. Perhaps most striking was Henry’s strawberry ribbon skirt paired with a glittering dark red blouse modeled by Camryn Kazhe.
Lori Reed displayed a fierce collection with eye-catching color combinations and accessories including black and red, a brilliant tan and turquoise, and gold and black with stunning fire color accents and jewelry.
Sharon Bradley with the Little People/Snowy’s Design Shop curated gowns representing each of the Seven Clans of the Cherokee. Bradley meticulously hand-stitched many of her design elements, drawing inspiration from Coco Chanel. Most of the models wore gowns corresponding with their own clans. Each model wore a necklace with a mask carved by Cameron Nelson. Bradley was inspired by her sister Jody Bradley Lipscomb’s painting of Judaculla Rock for her Paint Clan dress, modeled by Jalyn Albert.
Freida Saylor displayed a collection with bold messaging like “Get Loud,” and “We have our solutions,” as well as a combination of brightly colored pieces and earth tones. Saylor wore a shirt that read “Indigenous Changemaker.”
Ayosta Lossie, a junior at Cherokee High School, presented a gorgeous collection of burgundy and teal pieces with Cherokee syllabary in the patterning. Lossie displayed impressive clothing design with detailed two-piece sets, dresses, and skirts.
Deb West displayed an array of pieces with unique elements. Mother-daughter duo Consuela Girty and Georjia Girty modeled skirts, with West pairing a vest for Georjia and a belt for Consuela. West’s daughter, Amy West, modeled a stunning black dress with a geometric fire color design lacing the bottom.
Keredith Owens presented a bold collection with medicine wheel colors, red, black, yellow and white, as well as earth tones. Owens incorporated a pattern of basket design emblems. Perhaps most stunning was her two-piece white set with red, black and yellow basket patterns modeled by Alitama Perkins.
Kimberly Smith, with Tali Elohi, exhibited a fascinating collection beginning with brilliant white pieces that transitioned into black and a striking green. Smith’s work was a powerful display with themes of environmental justice and protection.
Amy Postoak presented a collection with beautiful combinations of sage green and white. Her daughter, 2023-24 Teen Miss Cherokee Kyndra Postoak modeled a fierce jumpsuit and green bomber jacket. Amy’s husband, Johnny Postoak, modeled a button-up shirt with a t-shirt underneath reading “ᎡᎭ”.
Mary Welch Thompson, Cherokee Baskets and Vessels, unveiled a striking collection with combinations of orange and maroon, brilliant blues and white, and black and green with basket designs interwoven. Thompson added a nice touch with sunglasses for her models who wore gorgeous sunhats.
Betty Maney, Betty Maney Gallery, displayed a stunning collection of green and white gowns and skirts with fire color patterns. Bella Garcia modeled a gorgeous white high-neck midi-dress with vertical fire color designs and black heels.
Chi Shipman, Chi Shipman Designs, presented a collection of brilliant blues, white, tan, black and red with striking designs reminiscent of the Mississippian Era. Shipman’s daughter, Joanna Shipman modeled a beautiful floor length skirt paired with a red top.
Blythe Winchester, BW Creations, shared a unique collection of punk-inspired looks with cool tones of purple, blue and green. Intricate circle designs patterned her pieces.
Alica Wildcatt, Greybeard Metal Smithing, displayed a brightly colored collection of looks with interwoven circular patterns. Wildcatt’s bright colors of yellow, blue, green, orange, pink and purple were accented by striking eye-makeup. Wilcatt’s most stunning piece was a multi-colored ribbon cape modeled by her daughter, Delaney Wildcatt.
Faith Long-Presley, Ganvhida Designs, LLC., presented a collection of neon pieces patterned with basket designs. Each model wore a strikingly long braid corresponding with the predominant color of their look. Nola Teesatuskie modeled a ruffled skirt with brilliant pink ombre, a pink crop top with basket designs, and a sparkling pink fringe jacket, with pink eye-makeup and a pink braid trailing. Faith’s sister, Hope Long, modeled an electric pink and black gown, with gorgeous pink and fire color earring cuffs and a pink train with basket designs.
Kenny Glass, Kenny Glass Designs, rounded out the spectacular show with an impressive collection of green and black looks with rainbow Chief’s Heart basket design accents. Zebadiah Nofire slayed Uktena in a stunning black cape. Nofire carried an extraordinary shining horned serpent head.
The 2023 Kananesgi Fashion Show was an exemplary showcase of talented Cherokee artists. With fabric, feathers, fur, sequence, and Cherokee cultural elements, each designer displayed the resilient imagination and creativity of the Cherokee people.