Kayla Lookinghorse - Headshot

Fabulous Designer: Kayla Looking Horse-Smith

Phoenix Fashion Week, the leading fashion industry event in the Southwest, returns Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 at Chateau Luxe. Meet participating designer Kayla Looking Horse-Smith of K. Lookinghorse, which was created to bring authentic Indigenous-designed signature jackets and iconic printed dress styles to the runway.

Follow at: @k.lookinghorse

Hometown: Fort Yates, ND. Based in Southampton, NY.

Your first fashion job: My first fashion job was presenting a fashion show for the NCAID (National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development) in April 2023.

How would you describe your style? My style has always been influenced by my culture and is primarily earth tones complemented with pops of trending colors. As a brand, my style pushes personal comfort zones and the styles can range from chic minimalistic to edgy iconic prints full of color.

When did you know you had a passion for fashion? I acknowledged my passion for fashion when my dreams started making sense. Creating those unique designs and color combinations came naturally. I found endless amounts of joy when creating these garments.

Your biggest fashion accomplishment so far and why? My biggest fashion accomplishment so far has been creating a second collection that was better than the first one.

The biggest obstacle you overcame? My biggest obstacle has been overcoming grief from the sudden loss of my aunt who was a mother to me and my inspiration in design. Using that energy and turning it into motivation to continue pursuing my dreams with purpose, to make my relatives proud. 

A designer who inspires you and why? As a designer, I’m inspired by Vera Wang for her elegant presence on the runway and for the simple fact that she “wants people to see the dress but focus on the woman.” That is empowering. As a self-made designer, I’m inspired by her life and accomplishments in film, awards and celebrities who love her dresses

Phoenix Fashion Week advice for someone pursuing a career in fashion as a designer? Trust in your gifts to create and be thankful for the opportunities that will come.

What can fans expect to see from your collection in October? Fans can expect to see the stories unfold of Indigenous peoples and history being shown in a new light. As an influential Indigenous clothing brand, it naturally empowers women through timeless designed clothing.

See this runway brand in person! Purchase tickets for Phoenix Fashion Week 2023 at eventbrite.com. Use promo code FABAZ for a $25 gift card.

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