Indigenous Designer Imagines Daring Political Clothing at the Met Gala

Fashion designer Dai Molina grew up in Niteroi (RJ) and has always been very attached to the culture of her family of origin. Her grandmother, who was from the indigenous village of Folne-O, in the remote lands of Pernambuco, was separated from her family life and ended up fleeing to Rio de Janeiro (RJ), but she did not leave her roots behind. she. The lineage passed to her granddaughter.

“Novelty is very important to indigenous people. It was it that created my soul, which keeps me on my toes,” the designer tells Noosa. “It is impossible to separate aboriginal life from the struggle. By the nature of what we are. It is difficult for us to be born without understanding what we are right at the beginning of our existence.”

According to the 2010 IBGE census, there are 305 indigenous peoples in Brazil, with a total of 896,917 people. They are about 0.4% of the Brazilian population. Dai Molina, the creative mind behind the Nalimo brand, has stood out in the fashion market not only because of her creations, but also because of her social status.

As a creator, I am a spokesperson for a movement that decolonizes fashion. Decentralize our references in Europe and look at what is being produced here. Observing our native and Latino roots”

The designer signs a dress designed by E! The entertainment is preparing for the MET Gala, a fashion event that will take place on May 2 in New York, United States. Watch the video that opens this report, revealed exclusively to Noosa.

In collaboration with her assistant Gabrieli Lecoña, Day created a dress that represented her Latin American origins. In his codification, the region was born of an indigenous woman, daughter of the land of Abia Yala (as the continent is called in the language of the Kuna people, the Amerindians of Panama and northwestern Colombia).

Before the arrival of the settlers, this land already had its own customs, habits and dialects. The community exists and is born from an aboriginal woman. The dress wants to understand what this continent is and where it came from. of Latin American descent.

The embroidery mentions a map of the continent, while the maxi-sized shell on the capes also resembles a flower and a vulva. The red edges are a symbol of the blood that is spilled.

What we need to see in this dress is that indigenous people have been here for thousands of years. They do not arise when the colonizer arrives. I want to highlight a historical fact.

To star in the fashion film and show her work, the designer insisted that her friend Zahi, an indigenous Guajajara woman, be the model. “In addition to having a deep connection with him, it is a way to promote local talent and make our presence visible. We need to be seen and respected in what we do ethnically and culturally”, comments the designer. See more photos from the shoot by scrolling through the gallery below.

Sound of Silence

The day hasn’t always been a comfortable shrug from fashion thinkers. The artist has been working in this market for 15 years. While his background is an essential and important part of his work, he has spent much of his career in silence.

“Before I couldn’t express myself, because I worked for big and important brands that ignored my voice, in the big market I had an attitude that forced me to shut up because being in a white, racist and elitist place, I needed to work to stay alive,” she says.

That changed five years ago, when the designer opened her own label. Today you speak loud and clear.

Now that she’s heard my voice, I won’t stop saying what needs to be said.”

It’s just that for Yum, dressing up is political and poetic. “It’s a way of bringing everything you want to say in an artistic way. A person looks at a dress and they might think it’s beautiful, but it also has a story. A political situation can be beautiful too, but not in the squeak.” said the designer. “My artwork is also an extension of my voice.”

And more than presenting a representative image and a less centralized view of Europe, the artist also intends to talk about the social and environmental impact of fashion. “My clothes speak of environmental degradation, the climate crisis. Aboriginal people have always said this, and now people realize that rivers and mountains are sacred,” says Day.

Fast fashion is committed to destroying the planet. Hence the importance of targeting aboriginal women, who seek to make fashion slower than what people do and not machines”.

According to Moody’s Investors Service, the fashion industry uses 10% of the total industrial water supply and textile finishing is responsible for 20% of global industrial water pollution. So as much as Day sees herself as a change agent, the designer still believes there’s a long way to go before the fashion market truly changes.

“It’s not going to be something that happens by magic,” says the designer. “It’s something in the long term. But what’s critical is that society’s thinking changes.” “This contributes to the awareness process, because it’s liberating. Fashion is social behavior and that is reflected in the way we consume. The market is not empathetic and will pursue change because the behavior drives it financially.”

Lots of fighting, however, sometimes it gets exhausting. Even a determined person like Dai. He sighed, “The matchup has been going on for 14 years, so I fought like hell.” But now, according to her, is not the time to stop.

When I get tired, I turn to ancestral spirituality, where I can reorganize and move. It’s where I get the strength to do what my ancestors have been doing for centuries: live, fight, and make the world better for everyone. Before becoming a fashion designer, I am an intellectual. Before becoming a thinker, I am an activist. And before I became an activist, I am an indigenous woman.”

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