alter-NATIVE Ep. 1

(upbeat music) – Could I tell youa funny story, too? A really fabulous storyabout Beyonce and me? I got nominated to this- it's called Girls State, where they take liketwo representatives from each high school and like, take you to the state capital.

And one of the requirements isthat we wear business attire.

At the time the PinkPanther movie was out and Beyonce didthis all pink video.

So I made myself a pinksuit to go to Girl State and like rocked itwhile everyone else was in Wyoming business casual.

(upbeat music) – My name is Bethany Yellowtail.

I'm from the Crow andNorthern Cheyenne Nations in Southeastern Montana, and I currentlylive in Los Angeles.

I'm the CEO, founder,creative director of byellowtail.


We're starting to havereally big collaborations.

I just completeddesigning a collaboration for the Land of Nod, which is a sister companyfor Crate and Barrel.

It's not like I grewup thinking, like, Oh, I'm gonna be afamous fashion designer.

I learned sewing frommy aunties and grandmas.

It was just something Inaturally was drawn to.

(upbeat music) – Do you want thisagainst white backdrop? Or do we want light? – Yeah white.

I wanna do product shots first, and then I would liketo go up on the roof or on the street.

– Today we're gonna beshooting my newest piece.

It's called the SunRoad Woman dress, and that is actuallymy Cheyenne name.

– Hi.

– Problem again.

This is what it came out with.

– When she sent it overit looked black to me.

I knew it was offjust in the email.

We have Laker purple and black.

– Yes.

Oh, and then did youget to see the new? It's off.

The color's off also, but.

– Wait.


– I know.

Look right here too.

So we have to make sure that when our productioncomes from them that if it's this color.

We're not gonnatake it this color.

It's a power dress, huh? (upbeat music) ♪ All together, you and I ♪ You and I, now's the time ♪ Oh oh oh let's go – The futuristicindigenous hot mama.

(camera clicks) You know when you cutyour hair really short, and then it starts to grow, and it's at, like,that in-between stage, and it's the ugly phase? (laughs) I felt like 2016was that for me.

I was going through areally horrible breakup, and, yeah.

It was horrible.

And, uh.

Holy cow.

Here we go.

I really had to dig deep.

I had to change my focusand keep moving forward, and dig into the thingsthat are really important.

So the Sun Road Womandress was my expression of finding strength.

I really startedcalling on my name, and the way we pray, as Cheyenne people, like, we say our name to the creator.

That's the way thecreator hears us.

So I was like sayingmy name in my language, and just, like, praying, and that design was somethingthat came out of that, out of my heartbreak.

It was, I love how it came out.

– As a native woman it's just so exciting to havea native fashion designer out there who is so bigand is doing so well, because I just absolutelylove her clothes and the meaning behind them.

I mean, they're beautiful, but they're also meaningful, and there's so muchnative influenced fast fashion out there that I think istotally heartless.

– Native inspired fashion is in.

– [Narrator]Supermodel Karlie Kloss walked the runwayin a headdress.

– You could go toUrban Outfitters or Forever 21, or, really any store, now days.

Even some higher end lines areappropriating native culture.

– Fashion Week, February 2015, One of my friends messaged me.

She's like, "Hey.

Did you see theKTZ runway show?" So I looked at it, I was like, oh, oh, oh, what? This dress was not onlythe same shape as my dress, but it had the same designs in just a differentfabric and colorway.

To be honest, it tookthe wind out of me.

It just felt really personal.

Almost like an attack onme as a native person, because it was like, here, let me do this for you.

I'm gonna take thisto fashion week when that's my goal.

I wanna be able tobe on the big stage and be in mainstream fashion, and share the workfor my people.

And I spoke up for myself, which normally, Iprobably wouldn't do, and I blasted themon social media and then the troops came.

People really rallied behind me, and made sure that they knew that we were not okay with that.

Did I show you what theinspiration is for this? I was really inspiredby this ledger drawing by Wakeah Jhane.

She's a Comanche artist.

I love that we're seeingthe gray of the city, and then her in her regaliait just was shining bright.

So that's what I wasinspired by for this shoot.

(camera clicking) So this is a scarf I designed for Native Americansin Philanthropy, which is sponsoring theIndigenous Women Rise March as a part of theWomen's March on DC.

All of the indigenouswomen who are coming to be a part of the march will be wearing themaround their neck.

So it'll be like.

Like a triangle aroundthe neck, like this.

And this says B.

Yellowtail for Native Americansin Philanthropy, and then the womenwill be all across.

I'm really excited to see all of the women whowill be wearing them.

(upbeat music) I realize it now, that there is anintersection of activism and my work as afashion designer.

– Let's give it up forBethany Yellowtail.

(cheers) – I just wantedto share with you a little bit aboutwhat the design means.

As you know, insome of our tribes our women don't traditionallywear headdresses, but the WomanWar Bonnet Dance, it's reserved for our youngindigenous women leaders.

So I wanted to use thatdesign to represent this time, this moment, and all of you who are here.

(upbeat music) When I was growingup I was told that no matter what you do, no matter where you go, that you always giveback to your people.

That's part of my DNA.

I'm tired of havingour representation be through a non-native lens.

I want more peopleto hear our stories, and see our faces.

Everything that I wassupposed to do with my brand, I know now.

I'm gonna takeeverything I've learned and put it into mynext collection.

(R&B music) Watch moreIndie Lens Storycast by following these links.

Short stories: big impact.

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