Digital Native: Support indigenous e-commerce this Columbus Day

October 10, 2013 in Design, Fashion, Fashion Anthropology, Social Responsibility, Style, Sustainability, Textile Addiction by alliemcc

Look, I'm not going to get into a whole dissertation/rant on how indigenous people have been treated around the world since the Age of "Discovery". But I think anyone with a liberal arts degree can agree: it's been pretty shitty for the last 500+ years. Especially the most recent spate of cultural appropriation, the stereotypical "tribal" trend.

You can appreciate real, live, indigenous designers working within their time-honored media and techniques, and mixing it up for the 21st century. Here are a few of my favorites:


Beyond Buckskin

Beyond Buckskin is a website established by Dr. Jessica Metcalfe to 1. call out cultural appropriation and 2. promote Native American fashion and design. In addition to her seeringly smart and informative blog, the Beyond Buckskin shop features great jewelry, accessories, and casual fashion. I bought my friend a pair of upcycled-leather baby booties for her new little guy.

beyond buckskin bag editorial

Parfleche Shopper handbag by Jamie Okuma at Beyond Buckskin


Faire Collection

I featured them recently in my review of a necklace from their Vietnamese artisans. Faire was established through a partnership with artists in Ecuador, and has now expanded its sourcing– and social impacts– into Peru– and that's just in this hemisphere. Jewelry made from tagua nuts and accessories from alpaca fiber are some of their specialties.

faire collection editorial

Mini Mariposa necklace at Faire Collection



This is a new discovery for me, and I am in love. Hiptipico works with native Mayan artists in Guatemala to create awesome, colorful woven and beaded accessories, clothing, and housewares. Their primary social mission is in funding scholarships for Mayan students. Their backpacks are beautiful!

hiptipico backpack

Mixta Mini Huipil Backpack at Hiptipico

Native Max Magazine

Native Max is a new fashion and lifestyle magazine by, for, and about indigenous American style. They feature fashion spreads, designer profiles, and lifestyle articles.

native max


There are MANY others, so look around the tubes– I particularly recommend reading through Beyond Buckskin's blog and Native Max's articles to discover more indigenous designers.

Skip the mall, and start your clicking here to support real tribes, not stereotypes.