By Gabrielle Hester
Acoma Pueblo designer, Loren Aragon is the mastermind behind ACONAV. He channels inspiration from Native American culture and creates beautifully crafted designs. The name ACONAV represents the cultures of Loren and his wife Valentina; Loren is Acoma Pueblo and Valentina is Navajo (Diné).
Aragon’s brand actually started out as a greeting card company in 2008. He began exploring the fine arts and then shifted over to jewelry making. His wife is the one who inspired him to pursue fashion design.
ACONAV made its debut at Phoenix Fashion Week in 2016. Aragon came in close to winning Designer of the year and is very eager to showcase his new designs at this year’s fashion week in October.
Traditional Acoma Pueblo pottery designs are becoming ACONAV’s signature. He was inspired after reminiscing on watching his mom and aunt make traditional garments featuring those same pottery designs. Aragon has all original graphic designs on his creative clothing as well.
“It’s like painting a story,” said Aragon when asked about the creative process behind his designs.
Another major characteristic of ACONAV is its focus on celebrating the strength and empowerment of women. Aragon expresses this aspect of his culture through his carefully crafted designs that marry traditional and modern style. He created a hashtag for ACONAV called #EvokeEmpowerment. He wishes for this hashtag to shine light on standing up to cultural appropriation.
Each piece is unique and represents Aragon’s culture and story. He was able to take his dreams of greeting cards all the way to the runway. “They see me, they see my story,” Aragon said. We cannot wait to see what is on the horizon for ACONAV.
Photos courtesy of ACONAV.com.