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What does it mean that Eighth Generation is owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe?
Eighth Generation Founder and CEO Louie Gong (Nooksack) sold the business to the Snoqualmie Tribe in 2019. Hundreds of local Indigenous people now steer the direction of our company. As owners of Eighth Generation, the Snoqualmie Tribe is proud to continue protecting culture, elevate Native artists, and uplift tribal voices.. Read more about the Snoqualmie Tribe on their website and our blog.
What is the meaning behind the Eighth Generation name and logo?
“Eighth Generation” is a play on the intertribal value of Seven Generations. By calling our business Eighth Generation, we are embedding respect for those who came before us and doing our best for the generations who come after us. Also, the pronunciation of “eight” in Cantonese – Founder Louie Gong’s Grandpa’s language – sounds like the word for prosperity. Therefore, having “eight” is considered a very lucky number to have in a business name.
Can I shop Eighth Generation products if I’m not Native?
Yes, absolutely! Eighth Generation products are for everyone. When you purchase from Eighth Generation, you’re directly supporting the Native artist who designed that product; the Native employees who helped create, prep and get that product to you; and our Tribal owners — The Snoqualmie Tribe.
I’m a shop or gallery owner. Does Eighth Generation wholesale?
Due to growing demand for our product, we take on wholesale partnerships as we are able. Please visit our Wholesale page for more information.
Do you have a catalog?
We do! You can view our most recent Look Book for stunning photos and to learn the meanings behind our 100% Native-designed products.
How do you choose which artists to work with?
Eighth Generation only works with authentic Native (Native American, First Nations, or Indigenous) artists. Proof of tribal enrollment, as well as other factors, may be used in our assessment of whether an artist is a good match for the Eighth Generation brand. Our assessment includes:
-Proof of tribal enrollment (required)
-Demonstrated engagement with tribal communities over time
-Vetting by tribal communities as demonstrated by prior art projects
-Continuity between the artist's creative practice and traditions/themes of their own tribal community
We reach out to artists we are interested in working with directly. We are unable to accept portfolios, examples, or artist collaboration requests at this time.
How did you start making blankets?
Louie Gong (Nooksack) began planning for wool blankets in 2010 after earning his first wool blanket by keynoting an education conference. From that point forward, he saved every penny from speaking and workshops to use as the seed money for the 2015 launch. In 2020, Eighth Generation launched a collection of wool baby blankets made in our Seattle studios.
What size are your blankets?
Cotton Throw Blankets: 50" x 60"
“Signature Series” Wool Blankets: 80" x 60" (fits over a Queen size bed)
Cotton Blend Blankets: 60" x 90"
Gold Label Wool Baby Blankets: 39" x 28"
What materials are your blankets made with?
Our throw blankets are made with 100% cotton. Our "Signature Series" wool blankets are made with 100% New Zealand wool. Our cotton blend blankets are made with a cotton/acrylic blend. Our collection of Native-made textiles – throw blankets, baby blankets, and scarves – are made with 100% Merino wool.
How do your blankets feel?
Our 100% cotton throw blankets are a medium weave and weight. They make excellent light throws for warmer months or to be used as picnic blankets.
Our 100% wool "Signature Series" blankets are perfect for cooler temperatures and as statement pieces on the back of a couch or hanging on a wall. Customers have told us our wool is soft, not scratchy, and the suede edge band of each blanket make them extra cozy.
Our cotton/acrylic blend blankets feel similar to fleece, but are much more plush. They're a great wool alternative to anyone with wool allergies, and are machine washable. Excellent for houses with kids and pets!
Our 100% Merino wool Gold Label collection of throw blankets, baby blankets, and scarves are our softest, most luxurious textiles. Made right here in our Seattle studio, our Gold Label Throw Blankets are double-knit for a luxurious, heavy weight.
Where are your blankets produced?
We are proud to work with local, domestic, and international partners worldwide as true participants in the global economy. All of our cotton throw blankets are produced in the USA. Our "Signature Series" wool blankets are imported from China. Our Gold Label collection of wool throw blankets, baby blankets, and scarves are produced right here in our Seattle studios.
Why don't you produce all your wool blankets in the USA using American wool or Native-produced wool?
As a growing business, we are proud to partner with both domestic and worldwide partners in producing our blankets! Eighth Generation is confident that we entered into this high-barrier-to-entry market in the best way possible and reject any stereotype-based assumption that a Native-owned company is somehow "less Native" because we work with overseas manufacturers. We must contend with the same reality and constraints as all other American small businesses. Yet, while only 3% of apparel sold in the USA is made domestically, over 50% of Eighth Generation's product categories are manufactured in the USA - much of it made in our own Seattle studio.
In October 2019, Eighth Generation became the first ever Native-owned company to produce a Native-made textile line in our Seattle headquarters!
Do you make donations?
Yes. Eighth Generation is proud to be a Native-owned company that sells products that are 100% Native designed. While we understand that we are setting the gold standard for how companies align with Native art and communities, we also understand that engaging in commerce that is so closely connected to Native peoples comes with an ethical obligation to nurture the environments that this cultural art is coming from. Therefore, we take seriously the responsibility of giving back to community. Due to the high volume of requests we receive, however, we have to predesignate how many organizations we donate to each year – usually making selections at the beginning of the year.
What kind of organizations have you supported in the past?
In the last few years, Eighth Generation and Louie Gong have made cash, product, and service donations to a wide variety of organizations. Some examples include the National Indian Education Association, Evergreen State College Longhouse (becoming the largest individual donor in 2016), Seattle's Navigation Center, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women of Washington, the Wing Luke Museum, and numerous special events such as memorials, weddings and other fundraisers.
In 2016, Eighth Generation donated $10,000 worth of blankets to the water protectors at Standing Rock and then partnered with the Google American Indian Network and First Peoples Fund to contribute an additional $24,000 in resources.
In 2017, Eighth Generation brought together numerous businesses and non-profits to support the new Navigation Center.
In 2018, Eighth Generation donated $15,000 worth of wool blankets to people transitioning out of homelessness.
In 2019, as part of our annual First Frost Gifting, Eighth Generation donated wool blankets to Chief Seattle Club’s Eagle Village. This facility provides modular homes as a route out of homelessness and into permanent homes.
In 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic, Eighth Generation donated 10,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to the Seattle Indian Health Board. Also, with support from the Snoqualmie Tribe, Eighth Generation provided nearly $10,000 worth of wool blankets to elders, families and children who lost their homes to wildfires in Washington and Oregon. Additionally, the women of Eighth Generation called attention to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women with the production of our “Sacred Sisters” Scarf. All $8,929 of the scarf’s profits were donated to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, (NIWRC), who help end gender-based violence in tribal communities.
How do I submit my organization for consideration?
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with more information on your organization and request.
Is there a deadline to submit a donation request?
No. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.
Louie, do you still customize shoes?
Unfortunately, my work on shoes has been permanently placed on the back-burner while I cultivate art related business opportunities for both myself and other cultural artists through Eighth Generation. I'm leaving the following information published – even though it is outdated – because it has been such an important part of the Eighth Generation story.
Where can I buy these shoes?
The only authorized place to purchase my hand painted/drawn shoes is here at Eighth Generation’s website.
When will you open the next round of orders for custom shoes?
I have less and less time to create custom shoes as other ventures at the intersection of art and business take off. Although I'm honored that the demand for custom shoes is great, I ask for your patience and understanding as I develop projects that – unlike drawing on shoes – will lead to long term sustainability for my family. I'm also helping other grassroots artists make the same moves though the Inspired Natives Project.
What do your shoes cost?
My hand painted/drawn custom shoes usually sell for $175.00 - $300.00 depending on the cost of the base shoe and the popularity of the design. This represents a self-imposed cap on pricing.
What kinds of shoes can you customize?
Although canvas shoes like Vans and Converse make great base shoes for customizing, I can customize any kind of shoe – from leather Nike Air Jordans to suede boots – to heels and pumps.
What is an "Exclusive Custom?"
We work together to design a unique shoe that represents you, your heritage, a story from your life – anything you can imagine. You may email me with your proposal, but please be advised that orders for Exclusive Customs are temporarily closed due to overwhelming demand. However, I’m inclined to make time for meaningful projects or projects that might increase exposure for Eighth Generation.
What materials do you like to use?
My custom shoes are meant to be worn, so I use materials that will be durable even with regular exposure to the elements. For canvas shoes, this means using fabric dye pens rather than acrylic or Sharpie. Although there are many brands of fabric dye pens that will work well, I prefer the regular and opaque fabric dye pens and markers from Marvy-Uchida.
In the award winning film UNRESERVED: The work of Louie Gong it is stated that I used Sharpie on my first pair of shoes. This is often taken out of context or generalized to mean that I always use Sharpie. In actuality, it only took me a few pairs to learn that fabric dye was the right medium for custom shoes.
When working on leather shoes, I like to use Angelus leather paint. You can find many informative online tutorials for working on leather shoes.
How will my custom shoes hold up?
I’ve spent a lot of time refining the methods and materials I use to put art on shoes. The artwork on your shoe should hold up nearly as well as a factory printed design.
Are there any designs you won’t do?
I won’t copy someone else’s design because it’s both bad form and no fun. Additionally, I enjoy designing with the contours, colors and lines of each shoe, so designs created as prints won’t look as good when they’re on the shoe. If you like a particular design, I’m happy to incorporate elements of the design but I won’t try to duplicate it. Copyrighted material and trademarks are also off-limits unless you are the owner or have written permission to use the material.
How will I know exactly what my shoe will look like?
You won’t. Each shoe is unique. The organic nature of designing a custom shoe is what makes the process fun and challenging. It’s also what gives each shoe its unique character.
Variations in design often depend on your shoe size and the way the design color stands out against the color of the base shoe. As I go, I also make adjustments to cover up imperfections in the base shoe and cover up my own occasional slip-up. This is typically how innovation happens.
There are also tangible factors that influence the look of your shoe. First, base-shoes of different colors tend to have slightly different textures. This variation in texture is an important factor in determining the quality of the lines I can achieve. It’s for this reason that I like to inspect each shoe before purchasing it. Second, although all design colors look very good, darker colors tend to look more consistent throughout the design.
Are you affiliated with Vans?
Vans has supported my work in many ways. In preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, they helped out my fledgling operation by providing me with display fixtures and promotional materials. Later that year, they licensed an image of my art for display in Vans retail stores across the USA. I’m especially appreciative of their support of my "Art and Identity: Custom Shoe Workshops" with low-income youth.
Are you affiliated with Converse?
Converse’s regional reps have been supportive of my work, and I look forward to getting more connected with Converse in the future.
What is your return policy for shoes?
All sales on custom shoes are final.