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MEKA for Miss Alaska 2017

I met Alyssa London (Miss Alaska 2017) in December 2017 in the Seattle area during a cohort program supporting Indigenous Artists. Sometime in February she announced that she would be hosting an event in Las Vegas. I reached out to her about dressing her for the event and after talking it over, she loved my idea for a design and well the rest, all fell into place.

I wanted to create a gown that was contemporary mixed with Indigenous influence. I decided red would be the color. A lot of red is used with Tlingit and Haida tribes which is who she is. Button blankets are also used a lot as gifts and also to use as identify family clans. I originally wanted to use black shell buttons, then decided that mother of pearl would be more flattering with the simple style and fabric type I was using.

After a few mock ups, based on her measurements, I was ready to make the dress. I used a beautiful stretch satin, and over 125 mother of pearls buttons, which took over 5 hours to sew on.

I must say that I was terrified to create a gown solely based on measurements and zero fittings. But that’s what I enjoyed the most about this project. It pushed me to use my knowledge and experience and create something that was once in my head.

The gown fit her perfectly with no alterations needed!! We were both excited and I was extremely happy with the way the gown turned out. It was an honor to work with such a lovely person. She rocked that gown!!