Vogue Magazine recently featured nominated Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for her Indigenous styled attire during President Biden’s inauguration.
The designer behind the look came from an Oklahoma woman.
One year ago, she gifted Haaland with the traditional native ribbon skirt.
“She’ll be the first Indigenous Secretary of Interior. It makes me so happy to know that there is someone who is going to be representing our people in such a position of power like that,” Aiukli Cornell said.
Isabella Aiukli Cornell said she was surprised to see Haaland wearing one of her designs at last week’s inauguration. Aiukli Cornell said Haaland is a woman she’s always admired.
“A lot of the times Indigenous people don’t have representation and the representation that we do have isn’t always entirely accurate for us,” Aiukli Cornell said. “What I wanted to do was to create a good image for us.”
Aiukli Cornell said she started sewing about four years ago. She said the ribbon skirt she gifted nominated Haaland with is a symbol of power to Indigenous women.
“They’re also a way for Indigenous women to have representation for us, to create more visibility and to really make ourselves known in a space,” Aiukli Cornell said. “Like, when you see an Indigenous woman walk into a room wearing a ribbon skirt, she's easily identifiable and she can represent herself in a good way.”
When Aiukli Cornell was designing the skirt Haaland wore during the inauguration, her main focus was to just have fun with it.
“You can draw inspiration from just about anything and something that really inspires me is the land and the colors, kind of like the sunset. Like how the different colors fade in the sky,” Aiukli Cornell said. “It's really fun to just look around and just notice the colors in many things and apply them to your work.”
Aiukli Cornell also makes jewelry as part of her Aiulkli Designs brand. She plans to keep working on her craft for the time being.