6 Ethical Indigenous-Owned Brands
Cover Image from Magpie Goose
Let's get something straight. Every single day is Indigenous People's Day-- every single day. I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs on Lenape land, yet not once in school did we learn about the Lenape and their diversity, ingenuity, and deep connection to nature. Nor did we learn of the horrors, genocide included, committed against the Lenape and other Native American and First Nations, Aboriginal Australians and Maori, Indigenous peoples in Latin America, the continent of Africa, and even Scandinavia. Along with teaching young people of the oppression enacted upon Indigenous peoples in our world, we must must also help them know that without their brilliance, we simply would not be here.
However in this post, I want to speak to speak specifically to another problem that Indigenous communities have been made to face, and that is eraser. Many people don't even realize that Indigenous communities still exist— powerfully, beautifully, and in abundance all around the world! The brands listed below represent this continued power and unbreakable bond with Mother Nature. We all have SO much to continue learning from these global leaders that are Indigenous Peoples.
Here are 6 incredible, ethical, Indigenous-Owned fashion brands from all over the world!
Image from Ndavaa
Ethicality Details: "Combinamos técnicas tradicionales, creando productos que tienen un impacto para todos: Tú, Nosotros y la Madre Naturaleza. Somos artesanas y artesanos indígenas de las 8 regiones del estado de Oaxaca, colaborando con más de 20 talleres artesanales y con más de 36 familias involucradas en cada producto que elaboramos. El 90% de nuestro equipo está conformado por mujeres indígenas. Queremos compartir la riqueza cultural de Oaxaca a través del comercio justo. Tenemos sistemas de producción que mejoramos constantemente, con ello contribuimos al desarrollo y bienestar de nuestras comunidades y la conservación de nuestras costumbres."
"We combine traditional techniques, creating products that have an impact on everyone: You, Us, and Mother Nature. We are indigenous artisans, women and men, from 8 regions in the state of Oaxaca, collaborating with more than 20 artisanal workshops and with more than 36 families involved in every product we create. 90% of our team is indigenous women. We want to share the cultural richness of Oaxaca through fair trade. We have production methods that we are constantly improving, with them, we contribute to the development and wellbeing of our communities and the conservation of our customs." (*translated by me)
I love this brand! When I was in Oaxaca with my boyfriend at the time pre-pandemic, we stumbled upon this store and were so happy we did! We each bought a couple pairs of shoes that we still have today. They offer all kinds of shoes including sneakers, sandals, and even heels for men and women. AND now they even ship to Europe and the U.S. now!
2. White Bear Moccasins
Image from White Bear Moccasins
Ethicality Details: "My goal is to make a strong & ruggedly handsome moccasin for all walks of life, but let the customer put their own flair into it... I’ve noticed that this line of work brings people together. They learn a little about me and I learn about them. Ultimately, that is my goal, to bring people together and encourage a healthy lifestyle. I’d like to motivate the younger generations that your mind & your hands should be used not wasted... I am an artist, designer, stylist, innovator, dreamer, moccasin maker, and future cobbler. I am Shauna White Bear, owner of White Bear Moccasins."
White Bear Moccasins is a beautiful brand with a powerful story. Shauna, the owner of White Bear Moccasins makes these moccasins herself! Overtime, though bravery, very hard work, and some excellent mentorship, Shauna mastered the craft of moccasin making. A male dominated industry, Shauna intentionally hires young, indigenous women so that they too can learn this invaluable skill. I love this brand and am so inspired by its founder and story— plus the shoes are stunning!
3. Deadly Denim
Image from Deadly Denim
Ethicality Details: "It all begins with recycled denim from local Boorloo (Perth, Western Australia) op shops. Then, one of our DD x artists creates a unique design that is digitally, or screen printed onto textiles. The artwork is worked into the denim to create a unique Deadly Denim garment. Sustainably is at the heart of Deadly Denim a natural fit with our culture and connection to caring for country...The workshops have created a space to share our love for recycling denim and First Nation textiles."
Deadly Denim was founded by "Rebecca Rickard a Ballardong, Whadjuk woman from the Nyungar nation living and working on country Perth W.A.". I love the pop of color, art, and nature that their designs bring to denim. Deadly Denim is also the epitome of sustainable. Through upcycling recycled denim jackets and jeans, they give these pieces a new life.
4. 4 Kinship
Image from 4 Kinship
Ethicality Details: "4KINSHIP [is] a Diné (Navajo) owned sustainable artwear brand dedicated to producing handmade, one of a kind, restored, repurposed and lovingly upcycled, artisanal and small batch products. We are a small team of artists and makers around the world, including Indigenous artists from Dinétah."
4 Kinship is a beautiful brand that makes both clothing and jewelry. Their styles are unique and diverse as they are made by many different artisans. "Founded in 2015 by Amy Denet Deal (formerly Yeung), fueled by a desire to honor her Indigeneity, and to be of service to commUNITY." Amy moved back home with her tribe in New Mexico where the brand is now based. You can even schedule a visit at their atelier!
5. Anne Mulaire
Image from Anne Mulaire
Ethicality Details: "Anne Mulaire’s clothing lines honour Canada’s French, Indigenous, and Métis character. Our products are not only sold in Canada, they are made in Canada. Once our fabrics are spun and milled in Ontario Canada, they set off for its second journey traveling west directly to Winnipeg Manitoba, where we own our own textile manufacturer."
Anne Mulaire is a wonderful brand with lots of variety in terms of types of apparel and styles founded by...you guessed it, Anne Mulaire! Whether you need loungewear for staying in or clothing for the office, I highly suggest you spend some time on their site! They make everything to order and in small batches. "Anne was raised to embrace her Anishinaabe/French Métis héritage, respect all people, and honour the planet we share." It is clear as you read about this brand that that is exactly what they are doing!
6. Magpie Goose
Image from Magpie Goose
Ethicality Details: "Magpie Goose is a platform that fosters the celebration of Aboriginal culture, people and stories through the medium of fashion. We partner with independent Aboriginal artists + Aboriginal art centres to develop textile designs suitable for yardage printing. For each collection we license designs through Arts Law and Copyright Agency - we pay artists a royalty for each metre we print. These designs are screenprinted onto fabric at Publisher Textiles in Sydney. The screenprinted fabric is sent to our ethical clothing manufacturers, also in Sydney, where a team of talented workers sew the clothing."
Magpie Goose has beautiful, bright and colorful bold print designs. They have shirts, dresses, shorts, skirts, scrunchies, and a personal favorite of mine "bumbags" (I won't include the American name here lol) for children, women, and men. They designs are truly stunning; definitely spend some time ogling them!
I strongly encourage you to browse all of these brands' sites to witness their beautiful options. Do let me know if you end up purchasing one of them!
with peace, love, and joy,