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Native American Fashion and Identity


Nov 19 2014


7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Nelson Music Room

1304 Campus Dr, Durham, NC 27708

Appropriate? Or Appropriation? Native American Fashion and Identity

Appropriate? Or Appropriation? Native American Fashion and Identity

Fashion Show and Panel Discussion

What makes some uses and representations of Native American cultural symbols appropriate, and others inappropriate? How should consumers evaluate the appropriateness of a garment or accessory they’re considering purchasing? What factors should non-Native American designers consider before incorporating Native American symbols and materials in their designs? How do intellectual and cultural property law affect the marketing of cultural symbols? These issues – and more – were explored during an evening discussion in November 2014 with Adrienne Keene, Jessica Metcalfe, Susan Scafidi, and Shayne Watson. Beautiful fashions designed by Native American designers were also on display.

Sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics.

Media coverage:

Our Ancestors Were Stylish, Miranda Goodwin-Raab, The Standard

Runway Ripoffs: How Native American Fashion is Misused, Misinterpreted, Ezgi Ustundag, Duke Today

Reflection on Appropriate or Appropriation: Native American fashion show, Stephanie Wu, Duke Chronicle


Adrienne Keene

Brown University

Adrienne Keene is the author of Native Appropriations, a blog dedicated to pushing back against stereotypes and misrepresentations of Native peoples. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Adrienne is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures. Through her writing and activism, she questions and problematizes the…...

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Jessica Metcalfe

Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) earned her Ph.D. in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on Native designers of high fashion, and is in the process of editing her dissertation for a book manuscript. She is the main author of the…...

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Susan Scafidi

Fordham Law

Professor Susan Scafidi serves as academic director of the Fashion Law Institute, a nonprofit based at Fordham Law School and the world’s first center dedicated to legal issues involving the fashion industry. She is also the first professor ever to offer a course in Fashion Law and is internationally recognized…...

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Shayne Watson

Shayne Watson Designs

Shayne Watson (Navajo), designer at Shayne Watson Designs, was born and raised in Chinle, Arizona. The 27 year-old has been sewing since the age of 15 but is only in the third year of his professional career as a designer. Shayne Watson Designs features a fashion line that includes Navajo “Old Style”…...

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