“The western idea of gender gives rigidity to something that is inherently fluid.”
I wanted to approach my graduate collection as a traditional dissertation. It was important for me to not only convey my design practices but also incorporate a concept that reflected my passion for social issues. My exposure to my Native American ancestry began at an early age. Every year, my mother would take me to Pow Wows in the New York Metropolitan area. I decided to research the symbolism behind many of the dances and regalia, and discovered the two-spirit identity. It is a fundamental idea that exists in certain tribal cultures that essentially defines sexuality as occurring on a spectrum rather than confined strictly to masculinity or femininity. This concept struck me as it challenged the traditional western idea of gender. In the form of a unisex collection, I decided to interpret this concept through juxtapositions: developing textiles with contrasting materials and creating a visual spectrum. Incorporating elements such as hand embroidery and an accessory collaboration with Navajo artist Nathalie Waldman, my collection is a celebration of craft.