Designs by Della

This weeks rural highlight is Designs by Della, created and founded by the Apsaalooke (Crow) fashion designer, Della Bighair-Stump. She has been featured in Teen Vogue, INSIDER, USA New News, Vocally, INDEDPENDENT (from the U.K.), BUST Magazine, Xposer Magazine & Powwows.com.

Growing up, she would watch her mother, grandmother, and grandfathers sit around the table beading, sewing, doing feather work and designing/drawing out Crow designs. From these teachings she figured how to combine both the traditional and modern world together to make wearable fashion.

"I always wanted to wear and express who and where I come from. Our cultural tribal designs, colors, and beadwork are amazingly beautiful and one of a kind. That is why all my gowns and attire are one of a kind - no two are the same, similar, but never the same," said Della

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She first learned to sew by altering clothes and soon began creating her own powwow regalia when she got impatient with how long it took. "As we started going to powwows, we started making our own stuff", said Bighair-Stump.

"I was like fine, I'll make my own outfits and that's when I learned about how much time goes into these pieces."

A powwow is a Native American celebration which involves various dance categories which further breaks down to women and men styles.This is an amazing event where you can see dancers in regalia that are unique to their tribe, family, or pieces they design and create themselves.

It is beautiful to watch all the different people coming from around the country, even from Canada, which also has a high native population. Highly recommend! 

What is amazing about Della's dresses, which feature a mixture of couture and Apsalooke designs, is that each one of her gowns are hand sewn and beaded. They are intricate pieces that can take months to complete and the results are phenomenal. 

Della doesn't do any other tribal designs outside of her own, Apsalooke, out of respect for all tribal nations. 

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As a Native American myself, it makes me beyond proud to see my culture represented throughout the world, creating our OWN narrative about who we are as Indigenous people. We are more than outdated stereotypes and we are continueing to show the world how beautiful and unique Native American culture is. 

One of my dreams as a kid, was becoming a fashion designer. Listening to Della's story, it ignited a spark in me to continue to follow my passions and interests.  

Della has been designing native fashion and accessories since 2016 and has gained some insight into  being an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. One of the major issues and struggles for her business and for other businesses who operate in rural Montana, are the manufacturing costs.  

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Designs by Della utilizes high quality fabric for her products and accessories becasue she wants to offer quality products, but she also wants her work to be accessible to everyone, so she tries to make everything as affordable as she can. This can be very difficult, but is an important part of her business. 

"I want my clothing to be accessible to everyone, everyone deserves to feel good in what they wear." said Della 

Designs by Della was invited to Paris Fashion Week last year where Della presented her designs in one of the biggest fashion events in the world. She also attends other fashion shows thoughout Montana and other states to showcase her designs.

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Designs by Della is getting so many requests for custom dresses, she began to need more sewing machines and of course, more of the material (which costs a pretty penny) that is needed for such intricate and beautiful work. 

After talking with Della, I felt a sense of comfort that I miss while being away from home. Although we grew up in different native communities, there is a sense of understanding and similarity that gave me the feeling of nostalgia.

Her work and resilience inspired me and hopefully, she inspires you too.

You can check out her Instagram @Designsby_Della or her website at www.apsaalookedesignsbydella.com

signing out,

Dominique