Seattle-based Eighth Generation revitalized the wool blanket market by becoming the first Native-owned company to offer wool blankets – and designing 100 percent of its products in partnership with Native artists. In February of 2019, they launched their second Wool Blanket Design Contest. After careful review of over 200 submissions, the Eighth Generation team narrowed the field to 13 semi-finalists, then four finalists. The blanket created with the eventual winner will be among the highest profile of Eighth Generation’s 60 blanket designs, each designed by a Native artist.
Eighth Generation founder, Louie Gong (Nooksack) says, “At Eighth Generation, we’re radically updating the American dream by disrupting legacy industries built on fake cultural art. We want to share that American dream — let’s call it the Native American dream — with the community, and the contest is our way of doing that.”
Eagle Vision film
Coinciding with the final four contestant announcement, Eighth Generation is launching the short film “Eagle Vision: Taking Native Business to New Heights”, which follows Louie Gong as he travels to rural Alaska. Along the way, he visits one of the winners of the 2017 Wool Blanket Design contest and conducts his final custom shoe workshop. Louie started Eighth Generation with money earned from doing over 100 custom shoe workshops all around the world.
Geo Neptune (Passamaquoddy at Indian Township) — Geo is a Two-Spirit basketmaker, and Geo's goal as an artist is to use baskets and stories to create pieces that not only inspire Indigenous youth to practice their culture and find new ways to be Indigenous, but to also inspire other Two-Spirits across turtle island to reclaim their sacred roles within their communities.
Sydney Jacobs (Mohawks of Akwesasne) — Sydney created her modern children’s brand Ken’niwá:’a because she saw that Eastern Woodland tribes are underrepresented, and items for babies are even rarer. Sydney proudly describes her work as "a celebration of everything we are and everything we can be."
Fox Spears (Karuk) — Fox's current focus as an artist is using printmaking to reinterpret traditional Karuk basketry designs into contemporary works on paper. Fox says his art is made with intention: to thank and honor his ancestors, to mourn losses and heal historical traumas, and to help create new Indigenous futures.
Carol Douglas (Northern Arapaho – Seminole Nation of Oklahoma) — Carol considers herself a Traditional and Contemporary basket weaver. She creates baskets that tell a story by design, shape, and use of color. Coiling baskets is an extremely time-consuming process, and the baskets she produces in a year’s time are one-of-a-kind.
If you’d like to learn more about the contest finalists, check out Eighth Generation’s blog post here!
About Eighth Generation
Eighth Generation was founded by Louie Gong in 2008 when he began customizing shoes in his living room. Now one of the fastest growing Native-owned companies in the U.S. — with a flagship store in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market — Eighth Generation is a proud participant in the global economy. The company provides a strong, ethical alternative to “Native-inspired” art and products through its art-centric approach and 100% Native designed products.
Eighth Generation’s Inspired Natives Project, anchored by the tagline “Inspired Natives, not Native-inspired,” builds business capacity among cultural artists while addressing the economic impact of cultural appropriation.