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Lakota Designer Kayla Lookinghorse-Smith Prepares to Shine at Phoenix Fashion Week

Published: December 27, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Kayla Lookinghorse-Smith, a Hunkpapa Lakota fashion designer, is having an exciting year, as she gets ready to present her brand K.Lookinghorse in the “Emerging Designer of the Year” program at Phoenix Fashion Week in Phoenix, Arizona. This renowned fashion event, taking place on October 20-21, attracts ambitious fashion models and designers from all over the country.

Originally from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and now based in Southampton, New York, Kayla combines her Lakota and Dakota heritage to create her contemporary brand, K.Lookinghorse, known for its intriguing, wearable art and statement jewelry pieces. She has also collaborated with Generation One by LXL, a Native American and African American women-owned clothing collaboration.

For the Phoenix Fashion Week, Kayla has crafted a new collection, focusing on “ready-to-wear” clothing. She learned about the designer of the year program through the organization, which encouraged her to join its competitive fashion designer boot camp. After virtual meetings and a rigorous curriculum covering business acumen, media interaction, brand development, and more, she was selected as one of ten fashion designers participating in the “Emerging Designer of the Year” program. Her fellow competitors include brands like Aloha Glamour, Frequency Collection, Gemifly, Luebbert Swim, Olivia Noire, RAINE, Sloane Design, The Lost Cove Co., and Throne of Grace Clothing.

Phoenix Fashion Week is a prominent fashion event in the Southwest, and Indigenous designers have gained recognition in recent years for their exceptional talent. In addition to Phoenix Fashion Week, Kayla is preparing for an international presentation at Vancouver Fashion Week in November 2023, where she will launch a 10-piece couture collection.

Due to time constraints and prior commitments, Kayla has opted to showcase ready-to-wear items at the Phoenix Fashion Week. This new collection, “The Timeless Collection,” represents Indigenous designed garments specific to her family, featuring patterned dresses and statement jackets that empower women with storytelling, comfort, and glamour.

Kayla attributes her creative spark and success to the Phoenix Fashion Week. She expressed her gratitude to her graphic designer, Chad Yellowjohn, who helped bring her vision to life. While winning the “Emerging Designer of the Year” title would be incredible, Kayla believes the relationships she’s built and the tools she’s gained are the true rewards of her journey with Phoenix Fashion Week. Beyond the upcoming Phoenix event, Kayla has a full couture line prepared for her appearance at Vancouver Fashion Week in November, as well as an appearance on the Red Carpet for Jhane Myers’ Emmy nomination in January 2024. She will also be showcasing her designs at the Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival in Canada in April 2024, and at various other events throughout the year.

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