The B. Yellowtail Collective is finally up and running, and looking great!
Native fashion designer icon Bethany Yellowtail (Northern Cheyenne and Crow tribes) just launched a e-commerce retail expansion in partnership with a group of Native American artists on her website known as The B. Yellowtail Collective.
The Collective will benefit a group of Native artists selling their Native made fashion retail goods on the BYellowtail.com website.
According to a release put out by Yellowtail, the e-commerce retail initiative features jewelry, beadwork, textiles, handbags, and other accessories handmade by each of the artists. All pieces are one-of-a-kind, created through traditional design methods passed down for many generations.
Since the inception of Yellowtail’s clothing line in 2014, the designer says she has envisioned a collaborative project with Native American artists and designers who often lack retail opportunities due to their remote locales.
“What makes The Collective so unique is that the people will now have a direct connection to the authentic, creative source of what they’re purchasing. It is very important to know and understand the artist behind the work,” Yellowtail said.
“There will now be a face and a name behind their work, not just a generic idea of Native American product,” Yellowtail said, “Consumers will be able to see their faces, hear their voices, and understand the significance and individuality behind their designs and concepts.”
Yellowtail tells ICTMN she was inspired to create the Collective when she was moving from Los Angeles back to her home communities on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne nations. Shifting from the fast-pace of L.A. caused her to rethink and re-evaluate her goals for her company.
She says one moment in particular inspired the Collective.
“I was at a gas station in Lame Deer, MT and a man came up to me and asked if I wanted to buy some earrings he made. I asked him, ‘WOW, how much?!’ They were absolutely exquisite. He said, ‘15.00, I just need gas money.’ That moment, a light bulb went off. At first, I felt really sad because the earrings were incredible and what he was asking for was so beneath their true value. Poverty, unemployment and lack of job opportunities is so real, especially in the Northern Plains region. So, accompanied by several other moments like that while I was living back home, I decided I need to use my platform as an opportunity to create real sustainable change. Launching “The Collective” is just the stepping stone for the true potential of our brand.
Yellowtail says that she hopes to provide more opportunity for artists in her life. She also offered words of advice to aspiring native designers and young native people in general.
Model Martin Sensmeier (left) Necklaces by Alaynee Goodwill & Kendorina Redhouse Cuffs by Alaynee Goodwill & Thomas Yellowtail. Model Stephen Yellowtail (right) Choker by Karis Jackson, Bolo tie by Susanne Stewart, Cuffs by Elias Not Afraid. Photo: Anthony Thosh Collins – Thoshograpy.com