Scenes from the 2013 AIGSA Fashion Show at Arizona State

Scenes from the 2013 AIGSA Fashion Show at Arizona State

Jorge Martin Melchor

About 400 people attended the Third Annual AIGSA (American Indian Graduate Student Association) Fashion Show at Arizona State University, part of the school's weeklong celebration of Native American culture. Gerard Begay, the fashion show's organizer, said he started the event to show off the talents of Native American designers.  "There's a lot of Native American designers out there who aren't recognized," he said. He added that he also wanted to show non-Native people how Native culture is evolving.  "I wanted to showcase that we are changing, we are constantly changing with today's society," he said. He said many of the clothes and accessories are a mix of traditional and modern elements, making them accessible to everyone. Begay said he likes that the clothes appeal to non-Natives. "I would encourage it because that's like me sharing my culture with non-Natives," he said. "It's also a way for them to understand who we are as people." Designer Shayne Watson said he is encouraged by the recent popularity of Native style, and the fact that many designers and stores -- from Ralph Lauren to Urban Outfitters -- incorporated Native influences in their designs. Inspired by his grandmother, a Native seamstress, Watson takes traditional clothing and makes it his own, using unique fabrics or style elements. "Most international and U.S. designers are coming into those colors and designs as well," he said.

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