Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Hidden Gem In the Arizona Desert

by Toy Taylor - It's not that often one comes across a designer who not only makes your mouth drop open in "awe" but gives you a sensation of, "I gotta have that"! This is how I felt at Phooenix Fashion Week's launch party earlier this year when emerging designer ACONAV hit the walkwayThis designer is so unique in his own right, a piece of this collection demands to be in your own wardrobe. Designer Loren Aragon infuses Native American cultures and sleek designs with a modern twist of bold daring colors. I cannot tell a lie...I was captivated.

Designer Loren Aragon
Aconav is one of twelve emerging designers being featured this year at Phoenix Fashion Week at The Talking Stick Resort.

Loren and his team have been working non-stop on what I expect to be a top notch collection for the big event, while trudging through the 4-month demanding Phoenix Fashion Week designer boot camp and debuting on the runway at New York Fashion Week. 

Let's just say Aconav has been going strong in 2016. So I was quite pleased when they took some time for little ole me to give a personal interview. 

Here's private look into the world of ACONAV....

How would you best describe your brand?
My brand is Native American fashion. It’s a Native American fashion brand that is authentically inspired by my Acoma Pueblo heritage. It’s the Acoma pottery art culture put into a wearable art form.

Are there any inspirations within your culture that inspire you specifically?
       Absolutely! I am inspired by the stories, traditions,
traditional dress, and pottery art of my Acoma people. At the foundation of my inspiration is the matrilineal idea which we live by in our culture. 

Our women, our mothers, our grandmothers are the power by which we’ve continued in our existence. 

It’s embracing that idea and presenting it in my work along with all the ideas of life and empowerment, which we still believe in today. It’s telling our story in a living art form.

Do you have a favorite designer that may inspire you?

       I was drawn to fashion by the designs of Native American designer & artist, Virgil Ortiz. His works encompass many of the same ideas and interests that inspire me, so in a way I connected with him. He comes from a neighboring Pueblo in New Mexico, Cochiti Pueblo, so our beliefs are very similar and we also connect in the pottery arts. Ortiz is a pioneer in the Native Fashion scene and it’s always inspiring
to see the next new venture from him.

What do you believe makes a quality piece of clothing?

Something that isn’t fast fashion. A design that will last for years to come. A timeless piece, one that can be worn time and time again and still be fashionable for any occasion.

What is your favorite part of conceptualizing a new design?
My favorite part of coming up with a new design is bringing together inspirational elements that will tell a story, my story, and the story of the Acoma people.  

What was your first piece ever created?

The first piece I ever created was a traditional Pueblo dress utilizing my first ever custom printed fabric. The dress was created as a show piece which I entered for judging at the 2013 Santa Fe Indian Market Fashion Challenge, in the traditional category. I took first place with that design.

How is Phoenix Fashion Week’s designer boot camp going?
The designer boot camp is a lot of work. For someone who hasn’t come into the fashion industry knowing the business of fashion, it can be quite intimidating and I feel like I’m behind on many aspects of the business. 

However, it’s very helpful and educational. There is a lot to learn and much to apply.

What type of knowledge will you be taking away from the experience?
I’m walking away with a ton of knowledge. There are things I never knew, things I always was curious about, and tools I now know how to use better and more effectively. 

It’s all knowledge in running a more effective, and sustainable business. I’m learning about my strengths and especially my weaknesses. I feel better equipped to speak of my brand more intelligently and make better decisions on what’s best for my company.

What are your fashion goals, meaning where do you want Aconav to be in 5 years?
I want ACONAV to be a sustainable brand. I hope to see a brick and mortar shop or fashion house develop from all this. I want it to grow beyond the designing of couture fashion. I’m fortunate to have touched on so much as an
artist and engineer so I’d like to apply what I’ve learned in those practices. I want to progress my fashion into other realms of fashion namely accessories, ready to wear, haute couture, more jewelry, more street wear, home d├ęcor, etc.

With all the current trending fashion, how do you come up with new looks in order to standout from others?
I don’t want my designs to be considered “trendy”. To me trendy implies that it will go out of style. I challenge myself to stay unique as I always have in being an artist. I love evolution in my designs. I’ve introduced collections that are still evolving. I start in on one idea, but as I draw it out I end up with numerous variations to a design which then becomes a collection.
  I want to be a trend setter, I’m working to set a new standard, I want to stay true to my message of “Cultural Designs Embodied in Timeless Elegance”.

Loren Aragon

I you enjoyed this journey with designer Loren Aragon of Aconav. I cannot wait to see Aconav's collection in its entirety on October 15th at Phoenix Fashion Week. If you do not want to miss the event get your tickets here NOW so you don't miss out on the big shindig.

See you on the runway!

Presented by   @chronicbehavior

A big thank you to Aconav for all photos used.

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