Buffalo Run

Collection by Native American designer Hazel Stabler heading to New York Fashion Week

Written by Karen Long

Native regalia, contemporary fashion, retro styles and Mardi Gras feathered headpieces are just a few of the influences shaping the aesthetic of Wichita designer Hazel Stabler, a member of the Yaqui and Ojibwe tribes. On Sept. 7 all of these elements will come together on the runway of the New York Fashion Show — that’s the date when Stabler unveils her Buffalo Run collection to the world.

The 12-minute show will kick off the 4 p.m. set at the National Geographic Encounter, 44th and Times Square. Pete Sands, a Navajo actor and musician who appeared in the hit series “Yellowstone,” will premier scenes from his new documentary on missing and murdered Indigenous women on a 40-foot screen in the background, while The Martin Sisters, a Native duo, provide live music.

The title of the collection, Buffalo Run, reflects the deep symbolism that weaves throughout the materials and techniques of Stabler’s fashion silhouettes. Her husband, Hollis, is a hereditary chief of the Omaha tribe and a member of the Black Shoulder clan, which held the prestigious position of leading the buffalo hunt every year. In the show, the animal is depicted on several custom-print fabrics and on buffalo-head nickels fashioned into buttons.

The Buffalo Run collection also features many other traditional materials, blended with contemporary fashion and retro touches. Simulated elk teeth made from bone line the neckline of an evening gown; a silver and turquoise statement necklace hangs down into an arrow-shaped cutout in the back of a cocktail dress.

Stabler has a passion for fringe, inspired by traditional shawls, which are either worn over the shoulders or draped over an arm during ceremonies. “When you move it’s very graceful and flowing,” she says. Hand-dyed fringe, arrow-shaped fringe and “hackles” — dyed chicken feathers — line many of the pieces.

Appliqué and hand beading also play a prominent role. “I make everything by hand myself,” says Stabler, starting with drawing the patterns and selecting the fabrics. “It’s mostly couture work, so it’s designed for a specific person. I do the construction, all the embellishing and beading and then style it with jewelry.”

ICT Native Gala

Experience the Buffalo Run collection yourself during the ICT Native Gala on Oct. 12 at the Crown Uptown, a fundraiser with proceeds going to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Saturday, Oct. 12
VIP Preview Party, 6 p.m.
Gala, 7–10 p.m.
For tickets go to ictnativegala.com

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