We Are Celebrating Indigenous People's Day By Honoring The Sustainable Fashion Work Of Idia'Dega

During New York Fashion Week, Pittsburgh native Tereneh Mosley brought her global ethical brand Idia’Dega to center stage.

The Spring 2018 sustainable fashion collection featured the designs of Idia’Dega, OMWA:  Olorgesailie Maasai Women Artisans of Kenya, The Beading Wolves and Beading by Holly Gibson (Oneida) and the creative community of the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse


The Spring 2018 theme and title is The Blue Collection:

“This is the first time that I didn’t come up with the theme – this time Mary Cook of the Beading Wolves said let’s do a collection based on the theme of BLUE. I had to think about the way I think about blue which is the blues (sadness) verses the way that other people think about blue so for example – For example for the Maasai – blue is a color of openness and generosity. If you’re a particularly generous person, the Massai women will bead you a special bracelet with the blue bead in it that identifies you as a generous person to come to for help. So that made me change my mind and think about blue in a very different way. So it became the sea, the sky and tears and all of these different things – so it just expanded the meaning and made it a lot more interesting. Additionally the Blues is a roots foundation music and storytelling method for African American community.”  -Tereneh Mosley

Mary Cook of the Beading Wolves believes that it is important for indigenous women to work together because we all have our own creative minds and help encourage and motivate each other to see something and envision a dream and make it a reality through the use of beads and materials. Cook affirms, “ I believe us woman of color and different cultural backgrounds offer so many different perspectives on the meaning behind a certain color, flower, medicine and the influences of nature.”

The womenswear collection of a dozen looks includes many shades of blue and some bordering on colors like grey, green and black and included various fabrics such as organic cotton, soy, jersey, hemp.  All elements within the diversity of the blue color range.  Include day and evening looks – some pieces have hand-beading directly on the fabric done in Olorgesailie Kenya by OMWA or with pieces from Oneida artisan, Holly Gibson.  Jewelry includes new designs inspired by Maasai jewelry and combining streamlined silhouettes with Oneida beadwork.  “The idea is to really push ourselves and develop a new global design language by creative women,” says Tereneh. 

This is the perfect manifestation of ‘Many As One’. People coming together from all over the world, different backgrounds, experiences all working for one purpose – to present our craft and heritage to the world through how we adorn our bodies, what we wear. Too often fashion is seen as unimportant – but what we wear is an expression of self and society.
— Tereneh Mosely



Today is what we like to call Indigenous People Day and what mainstream America called “Columbus Day”. We wanted to celebrate a designer whose foundation is built on partnering with indigenous communities. Idia’Dega is a global eco-design collaboration, developing a new creative community of artisans committed to cultural, creative, economic and environmental sustainability.  

Founder, Tereneh Mosley is the very first MelaninASS Vanguard interview and created the most prolific responses to being a woman of color in sustainability and authentically working with indigenous communities. Additionally, she created the first Native American and African Indigenous Design Collection. 

She is the type of pioneer that needs to be celebrated today and all of the amazing indigenous artisans that she works with!


A small story of truth

“An Oneida elder told the story of how humans came to be.  Sky Woman’s twin sons - the first son made the Red and Yellow people (these are the Oneida elder’s terms) to the Red people they are to protect the land/terra/earth.  Yellow people the water.  the second twin made the Black and White people.  To the Black people he gave the air to the White people fire. When I told them the Maasai creation story of the god Narok building a path with his arms for the Maasai to leave the sky with all of the cows of the world.  The Oneida elder said Of course!! That makes sense because Black people come from the Sky, they are the children of the air.” - Mosely


All photos provided by Idia'Dega