20 Indigenous-Owned Fashion and Beauty Brands You Need to Know
Just last week, the United States government recognized what is now known as Indigenous Peoples' Day. It's the first step of (hopefully) many to support, uplift and fight for the Indigenous community. For our own (small) part, we have finally realized the value in spending our money with small, independently-owned businesses. We’re opting out of buying from big-box stores and faceless, international corporations (many of which have appropriated traditional designs). Instead, we're buying directly from brands that are owned by Indigenous folks—starting with the 20 Indigenous-owned fashion and beauty brands ahead.
1. cheekbone beauty
In 2016, Jennifer Harper established Cheekbone Beauty. Based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, this Indigenous-owned cosmetics brand creates high-quality, cruelty-free beauty products that are sustainably packaged and inspired by the 7000 Indigenous languages. Each item in the line is made from naturally-sourced ingredients and is named after the land from where it originated. The brand also aims to give back to the community (specifically the Indigenous youth) through product, monetary and project-focused donations. The brand states, "We want to create a space in the beauty industry where Indigenous youth feel represented and seen."
2. Skwálwen Botanicals
Sḵwálwen (skwall - win) is an Indigenous business creating botanical skin care products. Honoring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) teachings, the products incorporate wild harvested plants that are acquired in a sustainable and respectful way (which means they're free of harsh chemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic colors and parabens). From calendula to sweetgrass, these sacred plants are developed into handmade oils, butters and bath soaks that have a Squamish name to honor the place where this plant knowledge comes from.
3. Prados Beauty
Prados Beauty is a Xicana/Indigenous owned beauty brand created by Arizonian Cece Meadows. The line is primarily made up of luxe makeup brushes, mink eyelashes and hand-crafted skincare products at affordable prices. The brand’s mission is to give back 50 percent of all profits to charitable organizations and communities in need. They also organized fundraising initiatives to help bring PPE to reservations and new shoes to kids in classrooms.
Shop our picks: Powwow Lipstick ($18); Elina Lashes ($18); Prados Beauty x Steven Paul Judd Eyeshadow Palette ($42)
4. Ah-Shí Beauty
Ahsaki Baa LaFrance-Chachere grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Northeastern Arizona. In 2012 she founded Ah-Shí Beauty—Ah-Shí being Navajo for, "this is me, this is mine, that's me." The brand was created for “the fearless and unstoppable souls who enjoy quality skin care products,” and includes makeup, skincare and a forthcoming hair and body care line.
5. Satya Organic Skincare
After searching for non-toxic and fragrance-free products to treat her baby's eczema to no avail, Patrice Mousseau began testing homemade formulas before launching Satya Organic Skincare. All of the products in the line are made to soothe and repair dry, irritated skin using just five organic ingredients (like beeswax, jojoba oil and colloidal oatmeal).
6. The Yukon Soaps Company
The Yukon Soaps Company is a mecca for hand-crafted soaps, shampoo bars, essential oils and more. The especially noteworthy part about this skincare brand is the community behind it. Founder Joella Hogan wanted to connect others to the culture by getting everyone involved in the process of creating the products—from gathering the ingredients to selling in local farmer's markets. All the products feature regional plants and Na-cho Nyak Dun beadwork, while also infusing Northern Tutchone language throughout the collections.
7. Blended Girl Cosmetics
Inspired by a love of makeup and frustrated by the lack of Indigenous people on packaging, Shí-Fawn created Blended Girl Cosmetics. The line focuses on vibrant palettes that connect to her culture. From the names of the eyeshadow palettes to the outer packaging, the founder is closing the gap on representation. Plus, she gives back by donating to causes that are close to her heart. So far, the brand has donated to Black Lives Matter, Page Outreach and Navajo/Hopi COVID Relief.
8. Sequoia Soaps
In 2002, Michaelle Lazore started Sequoia Soaps, which is inspired by the mighty Sequoia trees and their ability to live up to 3,000 years. The name also represents Lazore's native connection—stemming from the Cherokee chief who developed the alphabet of the language. To that end, the design, packaging and production for each of the products are done locally with sustainability and ethical practices in mind.
9. Sister Sky
Siblings Monica Simeon and Marina TurningRobe started Sister Sky to honor the herbal wisdom of their heritage. What began as a hobby of making natural soaps and lotions eventually turned into a business when Monica's son, Kevin, was born with severe eczema. After the success of the "Kevin's Care" lotion, the sisters decided to offer their products to everyone who suffered from similar skincare concerns.
10. Quw'utsun' Made
While living in a small village in Swinomish, Washington, Ariana Lauren was inspired by the local land and her elders. She wanted to develop a product line to help the community, which is what led to Quw'utsun' Made (named after her Quw'utsun' tribe). As a medicine-based skincare brand, it vows to preserve the traditional knowledge and respect the intimate relationship with the natural world—which is why all of the products are locally sourced, vegan and cruelty-free.
The only Native American-owned denim line, Ginew (Gih-noo) is owned and operated by husband and wife Erik and Amanda. As stated on their site, "We incorporate elements of our Ojibwe, Oneida and Mohican heritage to express a contemporary Native American voice through our premium apparel and accessories." We’re obsessed with the line’s timeless silhouettes, androgynous vibe and crafted leather goods.
This Native American-owned fashion and accessories brand specializes in storytelling through wearable art. Northern Cheyenne and Crow fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail launched the line in 2015 with her partner Kimberly Meraz. With tradition and culture at the heart of the brand, B.Yellowtail has set out to share authentic indigenous creativity with the world, while providing an entrepreneurial platform for Native peoples. While Bethany designs the clothing herself, the #byellowtailcollective accessories are 100 percent handmade by a collective of Native American artisans who hail from Tribal Nations throughout North America.
13. Eighth Generation
Eighth Generation is based in Seattle, Washington, where it was founded in 2008 by artist, activist and educator Louie Gong (Nooksack). Proudly owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe, the company offers "a strong, ethical alternative to 'Native-inspired' art and products through its artist-centric approach and 100 percent Native-designed goods." The brand's Inspired Natives Project (anchored by the tagline “Inspired Natives, not Native-inspired”) works with artists within their community to address the impact of cultural appropriation.
14. Lauren Good Day
Lauren Good Day launched her brand (of the same name) to combine contemporary ideas with the traditions of her people. The multi-award winning artist is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota, where she continues her legacy through her work. From scarves to dresses, each piece in Lauren Good Day highlights intricate designs and traditional patterns that she describes as "wearable art for the culturally confident, the fashionist, the collector and the Native arts appreciator."
15. Urban Native Era
Inspired by the Indigenous-led social movements of 2012, Urban Native Era was born. What started out as an online platform to document protests expanded into an apparel brand that brings awareness of the issues, while also increasing visibility of the community. As the brand's mission states: "We seek out spaces where Indigenous people are not traditionally seen, we value the earth and use the most sustainable practices that we can afford, we create a collective community where people can come together as one all while creating fashionable clothing for everyone to wear."
16. OXDX Clothing
As a Diné/Chicana-owned fashion label, OXDX Clothing mixes digital art and apparel, while bringing Indigenous stories to the forefront. Created by artist Jared Kee Yazzie and his partner Allie Stone (who is also the head seamstress and business manager for the brand), they offer graphic tees, prints and stickers to highlight the culture and current issues of the Indigenous community. You can purchase their products online or at their store in Tempe, Arizona.
17. Beyond Buckskin Boutique
Founder Jessica R. Metcalfe started Beyond Buckskin as a way to promote local artists and designers. Since its launch in 2012, the brand has expanded to become a thriving online boutique rooted in culture and activism. Metcalfe continues to highlight over 40 small Native-owned businesses that feature ancient designs, natural materials and culture in their work. As shared on the site, "Diversity, beauty, utility and tradition come together in the garments and accessories we share with the world—from our hands to yours."
18. Liandra Swim
This Aboriginal Australian-owned swimwear brand combines culture and current trends into each of its designs. Founded by Yolngu designer and creative director Liandra Gaykamangue, Liandra Swim celebrates the Indigenous community in Australia through its vibrant prints and designs. Aside from style, the brand also focuses on eco-friendly and ethical practices. From the packaging to fabrics, everything is made from non-toxic, recyclable and plant-based sources.
19. Lesley Hampton
Fashion designer, model and speaker Lesley Hampton created her self-tilted brand in 2016. Based in Toronto, Ontario, the Indigenous-owned clothing brand sits on the foundation of community and inclusivity. From evening wear to athleisure, Hampton offers bold prints and inclusive sizing (up to 4X). Hampton gives back to her community by awarding a $10,000 scholarship to an Indigenous student who has ties to Ontario land and has a passion for the arts and culture.
20. Haus of Dizzy
Wiradjuri founder Kristy Dickinson has been making jewelry for over 20 years, but it wasn't until 2015 that she started Haus of Dizzy. After noticing a lack of representation in the space, she began creating statement-making jewelry that celebrated and honored her culture. As she expressed on the brand's site: "I created the Indigenous pride collection so mob could show their pride in a cool, fun way and allies could support and open a dialogue around Indigenous issues.” Her accessories range from earrings to key rings and are either playful (i.e., mini dinosaur studs) or have a political message (i.e., a pair of earrings with the tagline of "Stop Violence Against Women"). No matter what, every single product is designed and hand-painted in Australia.