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Eugenean Makes Big Splash In Fashion World With Dress Worn By U.S. Interior Secretary Haaland

Camila Falquez/Thompson

An Indigenous fashion designer and Eugene native has hit the big time: the first Native American to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Interior will be wearing one of her dresses, on the cover of a global fashion magazine.  

Korina Emmerich is a Puyallup Indian who grew up learning art and design in Eugene.  She now lives in Brooklyn, managing the business she founded, EMME Studio. Emmerich was delighted that a dress she created is being worn by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on the upcoming cover of InStyle.

“Indigenous designers are being spotlighted right now and have this incredible opportunity to really have our own voice instead of having this appropriation voice that was previously represented in fashion in the past." Emmerich told KLCC. 

"And I think a big part of that is our access to social media, and our way to have our own voice and to be able to hold people accountable for cultural appropriation, hold big brands accountable for it.” 

Emmerich said this is progress for an industry that once had Victoria’s Secret models parading in feathered war bonnets. She says authenticity is gaining ground.

Copyright 2021, KLCC. 

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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