Fashion Daze Ushers in Career Milestones for Jamie Okuma

Entertainment | 3 MIN

The Native American designer celebrated numerous career achievements during her Fashion Daze debut at Yaamava’.

By Megan Garcia

The Southern California sun beamed across the pool deck as models gracefully strutted the runway with handcrafted designs that channeled the past, present and future. Designers soaked in the applause from the front row that celebrated their feat during Fashion Daze as it marked a new chapter in their respective careers.

For Native American designer Jamie Okuma, the applause at the inaugural fashion show for Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel was the midway point in a monthlong celebration for her career. In the weeks leading up to Fashion Daze, Okuma was named a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She is the first Native American designer to be bestowed the honor within CFDA, an accomplishment that Okuma cherishes.

“I haven’t had time to really process it,” Okuma said. “It was announced a few weeks ago, but I can’t believe it still. Until I see it, I’ll believe it.”

Jamie Okuma at Fashion Daze at Yaamava' Resort & Casino at San Manuel

Fashion Daze had been at the forefront for Okuma since she was invited to bring her visionary designs to Yaamava’. It required weeks of preparation for her new collection to come to life, but it was an opportunity to test the limits of her creativity under a tight deadline.

Okuma sourced inspiration for her designs from her lived experiences throughout childhood and adolescence, as well as life on the La Jolla Band reservation in Southern California. Okuma is Luiseno, Shoshone-Bannock, Wailaki, and Okinawan and is also an enrolled member of the La Jolla Band of Indians in Southern California. By harnessing her past, Okuma effortlessly created a collection that was symbolic of her life and career.

“For Fashion Daze, I had to turn the majority of the designs around in about a month,” Okuma said. “I was just in this space where everything was coming together and working. All the designs I created I loved. At the end, it was sort of easy.”

Jamie Okuma at Fashion Daze at Yaamava' Resort & Casino at San Manuel

Okuma’s collection was the final runway show for Fashion Daze. The mix of native cultural songs and house music rang through the pool deck as Okuma’s artwork displayed pieces of her history and culture. It has long set her apart from other artists in the industry, while also connecting her to opportunities that put Native American designers and models in the spotlight.

Leading the charge to bring top talent to Fashion Daze was Kelly Cutrone, publicist and TV personality, as she searched for designers across the United States who incorporate Indigenous culture into their artwork.

“Kelly and People’s Revolution were unparalleled,” Okuma said of her experience at Fashion Daze. “They made me feel so comfortable, so that took so much stress off.”

Now with Fashion Daze under her belt, Okuma has her sights set on opening more doors for Native American designers and models to join her in the mainstream fashion scene.

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