B.Y E L L O W T A I L
Ginew + BYellowtail dress and coat giveaway - GO TO OUR RESPECTIVE INSTAGRAM PAGES to join the fun!
Driving across the country in 2015 resulted in an intriguing introduction a few miles past Busby, MT. We have friends in the small towns about Southeast MT - Ashland, Lame Deer, Busby...and we always make time to stop and visit our friends and/or their families. During one visit we stopped at the trading post off the road...and I asked, "Where are items made by community members?" A kind woman showed me over and asked, "What are you looking for?" I paused, "Not sure. Only know it's for my wife who loves silver and beadwork...but she does her own bead & quillwork...so maybe something different."
"Well, try this..." and she lead me over to a rack of scarves - beautiful, thoughtful, delicate - scarves. "Local girl makes these - lives in California now - but local girl." Immediately, I was struck by the thought, attention, and design of the box...the simplicity and elegance of the black packaging for the scarves let me know this was no ordinary introduction. That day I walked out with each style of B.YELLOWTAIL scarf - convincing myself Amanda would choose one and gift the rest.
Being Indigenous - our tribes are Ojibwe, Oneida, and Stockbridge-Munsee - in the fashion ecosystem can be an isolating experience at best...often times we encounter other designers and buyers who view our cultures as costumes - something to make-believe or dress up in. It's an odd mirror to look into - more on that another time. However, the mirror with B.Yellowtail - MUCH DIFFERENT. For the first time we'd encountered another Indigenous designer in the larger fashion ecosystem - beyond craft, beyond "Native art" and beyond graphic design - who was pushing to innovate and thrive in the realm of design, patterns, production, marketing, and distribution... It was the first moment we encountered another brand similar to us in the space... It's hard to explain, but in that moment we were no longer alone - no longer isolated. We encountered a peer and role model - seeing who we are and who we could become...
Fast-forward - Amanda has had the pleasure to sit down with Bethany - owner and designer of B.Yellowtail - at a dinner...to be in a space where being Indigenous is not the "sparkle or shiny thing" about one's self... It was in this space where Bethany's innovation, dedication, and grit to push forward in the fashion ecosystem was being celebrated. There's a bigger, grander story to why we are so excited to participate in this month's giveaway with B.Yellowtail...it's not about marketing, increasing followers, or gaining traction. Rather, it's about celebrating who we both are as Indigenous-owned and operated brands in the fashion ecosystem...brands who's mere presence defies the romanticism and misunderstanding about our communities. It's about being able to represent who WE are, not someone else representing what they believe or fantasize us to be...
B.Yellowtail - Thank you for being the first American Indian-owned and operated fashion brand that we encountered...simply being who you are has inspired us to innovate and push forward, all the while lifting up those around and behind us so one day it will be normal to see Indigenous people represented in this space.