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The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) has recently opened a new exhibit “Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour” that features over 100 designers including Indigenous, Black, immigrant, and women designers. 

“This sweeping presentation reflects the American spirit of ingenuity and underscores important stories of opportunity and self-innovation,” the NOMA website explains. 

The exhibit uses historical garments, including one from the 19th century, in addition to modern garments, to demonstrate the impact of media and celebrity culture. It will be open for viewing through November 26, 2023. These garments on display help amplify the voices of communities often left out of the mainstream or dominant narratives of American fashion history. 

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Those who decide to visit can expect to see an elegant day dress by Cherokee designer Lloyd “Kiva” New, a pivotal figure in the history of modern Indigenous design; beaded canvas high-heel sneakers by Kiowa designer Terri Greeves; and a peacoat by Pueblo designer Virgil Ortiz.

At the opening of the exhibit, United Houma Nation Principal Chief Lora Ann Chaisson presented a land acknowledgement. 

“Indigenous art and fashion are integral to the American story, and Fashioning America provides a platform for the talent of Native American designers to be shared with a greater audience,” said Chaisson. “Thank you to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and NOMA for including the Indigenous community in this exciting exhibition.

NOMA was opened in December of 1911 with only nine works of art, making it New Orleans’ oldest fine arts institution. Today, the museum hosts a permanent collection of nearly 50,000 artworks. 

“Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour” was previously at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in September 2022, as the museum's first exhibition dedicated to fashion.

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About The Author
Neely Bardwell
Author: Neely BardwellEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian) is a staff reporter for Native News Online. Bardwell is also a student at Michigan State University where she is majoring in policy and minoring in Native American studies.