Native Fashion Designer Patricia Michaels Creates Wearable Art

Patricia Michaels is a Native fashion designer from Taos, New Mexico who is know for elegantly capturing the beauty of Native culture in her pieces. Pushing Native American designs in a new direction, she successfully combats stereotypes and creates fresh, contemporary pieces that invite the world to get a true sense of the modern-day Native. Patricia was the first Native American designer to compete on Project Runway in 2012. Bringing an understanding of Native American design and culture to the Emmy Nominated television show, Patricia earned the title of first runner up in season 11. From the New York City runway to prestigious museums, Patricia Michaels has represented her heritage with grace.

As one way of incorporating Native culture throughout the entirety of the experience, Hotel Chaco commissioned Patricia Michaels to design the signature uniforms for the staff. The chic uniform designs capture the essence of Patricia's purpose and vision as a Native designer. The valet shirts and guest services dresses feature a maze pattern that boldly encompasses the entirety of the garments. The maze design represents the journey that every person takes through life. There is no entrance or exit to the maze, but an end in the middle because it is at the center of ones being that the individual will find themselves. The black and white cocktail skirts wield a pattern inspired by the designs found at Chaco Canyon. The simpler uniforms were designed to be sleek and elegant. All of the Hotel Chaco designs created by Patricia Michaels communicate Native themes to out of town guests and New Mexico locals alike. 

 Hotel Chaco General Manager LIz Robinson and Patricia Michaels wearing Patricia's designs.   Purchase Patricia's Chaco Maze T-Shirts

Hotel Chaco General Manager LIz Robinson and Patricia Michaels wearing Patricia's designs.

Purchase Patricia's Chaco Maze T-Shirts

Gallery Chaco features the original works of Patricia Michaels. While Patricia does have some fabricated designs produced in larger quantities, one of her signature qualities as a designer is her use of natural materials. An important trademark of her designs is the rare textile techniques she uses. All of the fabrics created in her studio are either hand painted, dyed, printed or embellished. Since the materials are all hand manipulated in some form, the result is garments that are each unique and original. 

Patricia creates in her Taos, New Mexico studio and home. Hailing from Taos Pueblo, the designer finds comfort and inspiration in the beauty of her Native land. Every space in her studio functions as some part of the design process. From the reference books that line her shelves to the table of beads under her bedroom window, Patricia utilizes her entire home as a studio. The cherished elements of her Native life, including ceremonial blankets and traditional woven baskets, are found throughout her home and aid her in retaining Native culture in each handmade garment. 

Patricia knew she wanted to be a designer from a young age, creating her first garment in the second grade. As a young girl she would admire the beautiful models and designs in fashion magazines. It was her grandfather who taught her that the most beautiful part of life is the beauty in nature. Patricia is consistently inspired by elements of nature and incorporates these into many of her designs. Some reoccurring themes include eagle feathers, cloud patterns, and rain. Whether inspired by nature, Taos Pueblo ceremonies, or pottery patterns, each garment tells an important story. Patricia Michaels is an innovative artist who has revolutionized Native design.