Clothing contests have been common on the reservations for decades. Brighton Field Days, Tribal Fair, and other large, public events will host a clothing contest. It is a popular way for Seminole women to show their skills and unveil designs they have developed. Contests are often where the fanciest and new designs are shown off, especially by established Seminole patchwork seamstresses. In a way, contests are like fashion runways. The winning designs can become the new trends and mean more work for the seamstress.
Clothing contest have, over time, become a way of preserving older styles of clothing. For instance, the medicine man coat is no longer worn by men. This long, ruffled and patchwork design is impractical for most of the work men do these days. However, young boys are regular seen in this very traditional style at various contests. Thus, the style and cut are preserved and serve as a reminder and teaching tool of the Seminoles’ past.