Minnetonka, a Minnesota-based footwear brand, will release a second collaboration hat with Adrienne Benjamin, a Native American artist. This limited-edition, hand-beaded style is made from a wool/polyester blend and will be available in four colors that represent the Native traditions and beauty. According to the brand, the debut collection was sold out within a week after it was launched in December a few months back.

Minnetonka President Jori Miller Sherer said that Adrienne’s first collection of hats was a huge success and she couldn’t wait for us to launch it again. It’s our honor and privilege to shine a spotlight on Adrienne’s amazing beadwork, and continue to celebrate the artistry of her.

Benjamin is a Reconciliation Advisor at the fourth-generation Miller brand. This is part of a series they are taking in order to make amends for Indigenous communities. Minnetonka, named after Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, is best known for its Native-inspired slipper sandals. They are most well-known for their anglicized moccasins name. They began selling them to roadside gift shops back in 1946. David Miller, the CEO of Minnetonka, issued a statement in 2020 acknowledging and apologizing to Native Americans for the appropriation. Polish-born Philip W Miller sold his Minneapolis corner grocery store and used the proceeds of the sale to become a Minnetonka partner shortly after its foundation. His family helped it reach its current status, with sales in over fifty countries.

In an article published on Minnetonka‚Äôs e-commerce website, Benjamin stated that “Buying directly from an Indigenous designer in fashion is always best.” “You will support their artistry, traditional know-how, and even their communities through that purchase.” Benjamin absorbed some of this traditional knowledge from community mentors who would offer various artistic opportunities for Native youth through school classes or skill camps on weekends. She said that beading is something you can improve on with time. Benjamin’s tribe is known as the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe as they resisted forced removal efforts by local and federal authorities and reside on their lands today with US government-recognized sovereignty.

Minnetonka committed to Native Americans by recruiting Native talent, partnering with Native-owned businesses and educating their employees about Native issues. Minnetonka is open to working with Native artists and creators, in addition to Benjamin. They are also exploring the possibility of doing so. Minnetonka will receive all profits from the current collaboration. The company will make a separate donation to the Mni Sota Fund which offers financial training and credit improvement services to American Indian entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities.

Benjamin stated that “Through our ongoing collaborations, I hope more light will be shed on Native craftsmanship, cultural art practice,” and added that she hopes to “give authentic handcrafted Indigenous art a wider marketplace and through this, educate greater numbers about Indigenous cultures, histories, and history.”

Minnetonka will launch the collection April 27th on their site. Each style of hat will retail at 275 dollars.

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