Born and raised in southern Montana,Bethany Yellowtail is a proud member of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Tribes.As a youth she expressed interest in clothing-making and learned basic sewing skills from her grandmother and auntie.It was a teacher in Bethany’s high school Home Economics class who intervened to get her into the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California.
A member of Phi Theta Kappa, the President’s List, and a nomination for FIDM’s prestigious “fashion designers award,” Yellowtail graduated Summa Cum Laude.On graduation, Bethany worked as First Patternmaker at Baby Phat and now has her own label B. Yellowtail.
“For me, my mission is not about trying to combat cultural appropriation,”
“I simply want to carve out a space where an authentic voice and an authentic representation of Native America exists and thrives. If that means we’re combating cultural appropriation while just being true to ourselves, then that’s a bonus.”
Her designs show Natives as modern and fashion-forward people rather than just stereotypes. She includes indigenous artists — her photographer, models, and video director are all Native American.
“I STARTED WITH BEADWORK THAT HAS BEEN IN MY FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS.THIS WAS ACTUALLY MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S,
IRENE YELLOWTAIL. THIS IS FROM THE EARLY 1900’S. THIS DESIGN HERE IS REALLY TRADITIONAL TO THE CROW PEOPLE.I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WAS TOLD THAT THIS BALANCE SHAPE,THIS MEANT OUR SPIRIT WORLD AND OUR PHYSICAL WORLD, AND THIS IS WHERE THE CROW LIVE. SO I STARTED REFLECTING ON THOSE THINGS, AND THIS BEADWORK IS REALLY DEAR TO ME, SO I REALIZED THAT WAS WHAT WAS GOING TO START GUIDING ME. THAT BALANCE. SO THAT’S REALLY PREVALENT IN MY DESIGNING–THAT SHAPE. AND IT’S REALLY COMMON IN CROW BEADWORK, AND THEY STILL USE IT TODAY IN CONTEMPORARY WAYS.”