After a sold-out debut in October 2022, Red Lake Nation Anishinaabe designer, Lucie Skjefte, is back with a fresh collection of Ziigwaan Waabigwan Mocs for spring – with two new colors (and now, men’s sizes!) to showcase her vibrantly beaded floral design. Read on for a further glimpse into her thoughts on the collection and to learn more about her creative background in the interview below.
How would you style the Ziigwan Waabigwan Moc? What is your favorite outfit and/or occasion to wear them?
Casually with jeans, cuffed at the ankles with a cozy sweater. Or with a ribbon skirt at a formal event – with big beaded earrings made by my friends. When the collection first launched, I saw friends wearing them in that way across social media.
What was your reaction to the initial launch of this collection in October 2022 selling out so quickly?
I underestimated the amount of support that would come from my community, family and friends – all wanting to rock an Indigenous design on a pair of Minnetonkas. I had to give away my own pairs to my sisters! But I was just happy that everyone wanted to wear them and own a pair – and that men’s mocs were requested for the second collection.
You’ve said that your work is rooted in design activism that challenges the status quo with positivity. Can you share how this mantra went into the creation of the Ziigwan Waabigwan beading design?
I’ve always aimed at being respectful and mindful with designs that strongly communicate the resistance and persistence of my people. So with the design for this collection, mainly I just didn’t want to perpetuate a negative narrative with double negatives – but instead, shine light and positivity in a way that pays homage to our way of life.
How does your Native upbringing and citizenship within the Red Lake Nation inform your approach to design? Has growing up and living in Minnesota inspired your design work?
Yes – being in nature surrounded by community and understanding our way of life, and paying homage to mother nature, has always inspired me and the designs that I strive to create.
Do you have an all-time favorite design that you created? Who was it for?
Birchberry’s Nokomis Blanket – which was created for Heidi Grika of Birchbery Native Arts. She provided me with a picture of her grandmother in a beaded dress and wanted to create something to honor her Nokomis (grandmother) and pull that design forward.
What do you wish more people knew about Indigenous culture and design?
We’re powerful creators and designers, and we bring a different perspective to the table of creativity and design.
To learn more about Minnetonka’s commitment to the Native American community, please visit this link.
To learn more about Lucie Skjefte, please visit her website or our previous Q&A with Lucie conducted in October 2022.