By: Jeff Goss, CEO and President

ahtahthiki everglades

It was such an interesting visit. It was not only a trip to the Florida Seminole lands, but also a journey back in time to the roots, the history, and the culture.

The Seminole lived in relative peace for centuries, save a few Indian wars among their neighbors. Then the Seminole Wars (1817–18, 1835–42, 1855–58) occurred, three conflicts between the United States and the Seminole Indians of Florida, ultimately resulting in the opening of the Seminole’s desirable land for white exploitation and settlement. Collectively, it was the most costly war for the United States all the way up to the Vietnam War.

We studied the blending of European dress with the Seminole traditional clothing. The Seminole were very fashion conscience people. They began setting up shops in the early 19th century to trade their traditional pottery, baskets, hides, and canoes for sewing machines. They created very colorful fabrics with individual patterns with random fabrics they could come by to construct dresses and men’s shirts trimmed in ribbon. They topped off the women’s dress with a complimentary shoulder wrap and wore stacked beaded necklaces stretching their necks, a symbol communicating their status in the family and Tribe.

When you step back and look at the wardrobe one can’t help but be left with a sense of style and fashion more on the level of the big United States cities at the time, such as New York or San Francisco, rather than the swamps of the Everglades.