OKLAHOMA CITY – In case you missed it, the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City opened its doors to the public in September 2021. In recognition of its inauguration, a full program of entertainment, cultural events and activities has been defined for the entire family .
During the exciting weekend of events, the museum hosted a fashion show that welcomed several indigenous designers, including some representatives from Muscogee (Creek) Nation. One designer in particular was Louisa Harjo from Muscogee (Creek).
Harjo, who was one of the youngest designers on the show, is from Okemah, Oklahoma. Her tribal town is Fish Pond and she attends Springfield Indian United Methodist Church.
Growing up in her family, her mother taught Harjo to do arts and crafts to stay out of trouble in the outside world. Harjo was around seven when she was inspired to become a designer. Her aunt had become fashionable at Clary Sage College.
“I drew a lot, not of body figures but of clothes,” said Harjo. “But as I grew up, I wanted to focus more on drawing body figures because that’s one of the main things to become a stylist.”
As his passion for fashion grew, Harjo learned to sew by hand before actually working on a sewing machine. Former interior designer and Muscogee (Creek) citizen Eli Grayson donated Harjo’s first sewing machine.
“It’s a really good sewing machine, so I started sewing on my own. I started watching YouTube and taking lessons, “she said.” From there I started getting patterns from Walmart, the simple ones, and I was still learning the terms of sewing. “
Harjo decided that, since he already had them, he would work on the drawings he had drawn when he was seven. Her most recent projects come to her spiritually or through dreams.
“When I dream, this is most of my project, then I go and draw it before it becomes reality,” said Harjo.
Right now Harjo is working on expanding his business because he feels he has come a long way. She started her business at the age of 12 when she was in middle school, it was therapeutic for her at the time.
“I love how I am becoming a stronger and more independent woman while also focusing on what I need,” she said. “I would be a source of inspiration for others, because I teach young people how to sew. They pick it up and keep it going, they are really happy to start their own trends by wearing traditional vests or skirts.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Harjo’s models have not been able to gain much exposure, the FAM fashion show provided an opportunity to showcase her work. He designs for all ages and for men and women.
“It was really exciting and Leslie Deer walked away,” Harjo said of the show. “I was right behind her. She was also one of my mentors during my growth ”.
Deer is also a Muscogee (Creek) citizen and fashion designer.
Harjo and Deer had always talked about working together ever since she’d driven it.
“It was a great honor,” said Harjo.
Harjo’s business can be found on Facebook at Ember HaCo. Ember means sparkling light that shines and makes sparks from the fire.