Saturday, September 6, 2014

DRESS-OF-THE-DAY 6: The Ribbon Dress

In celebration of NATIONAL SEWING MONTH (here in the United States), I've decided to do an intensive blog series (well, intensive for me who obviously does not always make the time to blog), featuring a dress (or two, or a style) each day, not previously presented on this blog. Some will be my own creations, whether I used patterns or designed them myself. Others will be pieces I admire. Either will include an analysis and maybe some sources, history and tips. (At least, that's the goal.) I also have some guest bloggers scheduled (exciting!)

And now on to the Dress of the Day!

NKJ Native Original's Ribbon Dress (link)
The Ribbon Dress is the woman's version of the Ribbon Shirt, whose precise origins aren't really known. There are many differing stories, all containing their own unique cultural history. The majority consensus seems to be that the now staple of traditional Native American regalia (varying in motif and specific style/cut, but present and valued across all nations) emerged just after calico fabrics and ribbons were introduced as trade goods by the Europeans. (For a sample of the various origin stories, Canku Ota has assembled some in an article that can be found here.)

Deer Speaks Softly's Ribbon Dresses (link)
A master artisan (and Mohawk medicine woman) from my home region is featured in this TAUNY profile wearing her own ribbon dress. Traditional Arts in Upstate New York is an organization dedicated to documenting, preserving and supporting the local artistic traditions of the North Country. Its gallery is located in Canton, NY. So if you're up that way, stop in and check it out.

Ribbon Dresses are so colorful and unique that they even caught children's author Robert Munsch's eye during the filming of a storytelling in Montreal, when he met two Mohawk girls from Kahnawake wearing their ribbon dresses. It inspired him to write Ribbon Rescue, a cute little story about a girl who uses the ribbons on her dress to help out various people she meets. 

The Ribbon Dress is a beautiful traditional garment, and it is no surprise that its popularity is still strong, linked with its cultural heritage and importance. 
And now that you've successfully navigated this blog entry, here's a reminder about the Steampunk Apron/Bustle Mini-Sweepstakes (details here).

1 comment:

  1. How cool. I've seen these but never knew what they were.

    I'm loving these fashion lessons. Is there a test at the end of the month?