Seneca Niagara accepting applications for Indigenous fashion show

Niagara Gazette
3 Min Read

The Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is accepting applications for its second annual Indigenous Fashion Show, giving Native American designers and models the chance to showcase their cultures.

The show will take place from Nov. 1-3, with the deadline for applications set for today.

Seneca Niagara spokesperson Elexa Printup, of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation, said they so far have more than 200 model applicants and 35 designer applicants from 15 different states, Canada, and South America, all representing different native tribes.

“There has been a lot of Indigenous talent on the rise in the last year or two,” Printup said about how the show got started last year. “They’re not using big designers but their own people. How amazing would it be to bring this to our own communities?”

The first Seneca Niagara fashion show, which took place Nov. 10, 2023, was a success with 300 people attending the free inaugural event. What they originally thought would only feature Western New York participants ended up getting applications from all over the country.

Printup said their standards had been raised after she and co-worker Jaime Foy attended the first-ever U.S. Native Fashion Week in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in early May, which opened their eyes to how big an event like this can be.

Applications for models and designers can be found on the Seneca Niagara website and social media. The organizers will accept between 50 and 100 models and 15 designers, who will have until November to create their outfits.

Based on the applicants received so far, there is plenty of modern clothing presented like menswear, hoodies, and t-shirts along with more traditional pieces. Some pieces submitted by an Alaskan artist use animal fur in the design.

Printup said most non-natives only see native creations when they are traditional designs, not knowing what these designers are fully capable of.

“I want them to have their own platform to showcase all (their work),” Printup said.

She added the Senecas want Niagara Falls to be an East Coast capital for this kind of fashion since the area is a meeting point for several nations. They also want the designers involved to get attention in the area first before going off to bigger and better things, possibly getting to New York or Paris Fashion Week.

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