Surprisingly, yet not surprisingly enough, my youngest sister Deanna Lampe and daughter Lily Hope created 3 ensembles for the 1st Annual Native Fashion Show sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute at the Walter Soboleff Center in downtown Juneau, Alaska last night. Deanna has been a beadwork and needle-point designer and artist for nearly 30 years; Lily has been a Ravenstail and Chilkat weaver for the past 10 years. Both decided they wanted to try their hand at clothing design. Deanna and Lily were two of the nearly 15 clothing designers in this first-of-its-kind fashion show in Juneau.
Costume design and fashion has always been an interest of nearly all my life. My earliest memory of “dress-up” was when I was 6 years old; if the sun was shining first thing in the morning, I’d slip on a pair of my mother’s high heels and put on one of her dresses and I’d stand in the middle of the street saluting the sun! I learned to sew when I was 15, with the guidance from Harry K. Bremner, Sr. I made my first Tlingit dance tunics. I sewed all my own clothing and then eventually sewed most of the clothing for my young family. I was costume designer for two theatre companies in Juneau: Perseverance Theatre and Tricycle Theatre and then in Colorado for the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre. When attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, my work was selected for several fashion shows. In the past 30 years I have also been a designer and maker of Tlingit ceremonial regalia, which in its own way, is also “fashion design” though none of us would admit to it!
Due to health issues that required my immediate attention this past Spring, along with other major pressing deadlines, I had to bow out of this show. I intended on having three contemporary ensembles and was almost done with them, but all is not lost; I shall complete them for my exhibit with Sho Sho Esquiro this coming mid-October at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver!