Native American Fashion

Native American fashion is not just clothing to native people. It is a symbol of their rich cultural heritage, with each outfit having its own story to tell. Traditional native dress can be a signification of a person's status in life, or it can be a symbolic expression of man's unity with the Earth. While the majority of current native fashions are strictly cultural decorations, there are many impacts that Native American fashion has had on current fashion trends. In fact, it's difficult to look at the majority of North American fashions without seeing at least some of the impact from Native American fashion.

One major impact that Native American fashion has had on current fashion in America is through the use of beads to accentuate t-shirts and jackets. This use of beads in clothing has evolved considerably since its inception, and has developed into something very elegant and attractive. Years ago, people would cover jackets with flashy, gaudy beads that were very eye-catching. Today, people do the same thing, but they don't necessarily make it as flashy anymore. This use of beads and precious metals on clothing is a direct impact of Native American fashion on overall American fashion sensibilities.

Also, the popularity of crystal jewelry is deeply rooted in assumptions of Native American fashion. It's rooted in "assumption" because it's based mostly off of an overtly romanticized understanding of native spiritual beliefs. While there are many native beliefs that hold crystals and other precious stones in high regard, the specifics surrounding their use in Native American spirituality have been grossly exaggerated over time. Whether it's due to a realistic understanding of native spirituality or not, there is no denying the effect that these presumptions have had. Crystal jewelry is a mainstay of popular fashion, and is one of the few types of jewelry that has genuine, documented staying power.

The impacts of Native American fashion have been felt the world over-- especially in the United States. Every generation of designers implements another aspect of Native American fashion into his or her lineup at some point. While the overall "purity" of the original native fashions have been diluted over the years, that influence is no less apparent today than it ever was.