By BROOKLYN BROWN
One Feather Reporter
CHEROKEE, N.C.— On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 4, Ayosta Lossie, a junior at Cherokee High School, presented her first collection in the 2023 Kananesgi Fashion Show, becoming the youngest designer to enter the show. Her mother, Lori Reed, an arts and crafts teacher at Cherokee Central Schools (CCS), presented her own collection, and watched on lovingly as her teenage daughter and her friends slayed the runway.
Both are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Lossie began designing clothes as early as 7-years-old. “I would always get little sketchbooks and draw a person and draw a dress on them,” she said. Lossie now uses an app on her phone called ibisPaint to sketch out designs. Lossie was designing clothes on the app during her sit-down interview with the One Feather. She also shared her sketches for her Kananesgi collection, including her burgundy Cherokee syllabary and floral print with elements of white, gray and a striking teal/green. Lossie’s favorite dress from her collection was the elegant midi dress modeled by Candace Craig.
Reed presented a striking collection. Her favorite piece was a sports jersey inspired vest with unique ribbon shirt elements. “The jersey style jacket that I did was one of my favorites because it was a little more creative. I was figuring out a way to add the ribbons without being just everyday ribbons in the way that people are used to seeing ribbons. It was fun and exciting,” she said. Reed also helped sew many of Lossie’s designs, including a stunning ruffle dress.
Lossie’s ankle length skirt modeled by Laura Martinez, a senior at Cherokee High School who was recently crowned Homecoming Queen, was purchased at the Kananesgi Trunk Show on Nov. 5, where designers could sell their pieces modeled in the show.
Lossie modeled in the first-ever Kananesgi Fashion Show. This year’s show was her first experience as a designer. Reed has been a designer in the show three times, with Lossie and her other daughters modeling her collections.
“I think the Fashion Show is important because it puts Cherokee art in the public eye and brings more artists out,” Lossie said.
Reed believes the show can set new trends for contemporary Cherokee art and design. “The show provides an outlet for ideas. If you have an idea for something you would like to wear or would like people to see, the Fashion Show is a place you can do that,” she said. “I worked at the Oconaluftee Indian Village, and I would always say that young men should wear the traditional oblique belts to prom or things like that. There are ways to incorporate traditional dress into everyday wear to make it more Cherokee.”
The mother and daughter pair enjoy creating art together. “A lot of times Ayosta can give me feedback that I can’t get it from just anybody. She understands art and what I do, and she’s open to listening, too,” Reed said.
Lossie’s teacher, Megan Barnes, an art teacher at CCS, is excited for Lossie’s future in art. “Ayosta exemplifies the importance of Contemporary Native American cultural visibility. Her ability to incorporate traditional designs and elements into her work is flawless. She is an accomplished artist who has always pushed to express herself and her Cherokee culture through various forms of art. From drawing to basket weaving to fashion design, she creates her own unique combinations of traditional styles and modern techniques,” she said.
“Ayosta’s work comes effortlessly from her life experiences as a modern-day Indigenous student living in a 21st Century world. She pushes herself to make the best work she can and delivers every single time. You will be blown away by this young artist’s work. Keep an eye on Ayosta Lossie, she is going to take the art world by storm!”
Lossie and Reed are already thinking about ideas for next year’s Fashion Show. With an outstanding collection at the fifth annual show, the community should anticipate incredible work from Lori Reed and her daughter, Ayosta Lossie.