I first met ACONAV designer Loren Aragon at Phoenix Fashion Week’s ‘Shop Garment District’ last year. The event was a teaser of emerging designers, in anticipation of PHXFW’s annual runway shows at Talking Stick Resort, which took place in October 2016.
ACONAV was launched in 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona, by Loren and Valentina Aragon. Loren is from the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, while his wife, Valentina is Diné (Navajo); so the fashion house’s name was conceptualized based on the merging of their Native American cultures. The apparel and jewelry collections are mostly inspired by the monochrome and polychrome pottery designs that are typically made in the Acoma Pueblo. Loren also learned the fine art of silversmithing from family members, which he embodies into each design. The pottery designs (in both the jewelry and apparel) are meant to look like broken shards of the pottery, but with the idea of them coming together to tell a new story. He uses parts of the pottery culture that are used as highlights to modern attire and blends that with traditional dress elements of the women of the Acoma community.
The following photos are from his S/S 2017 collection that was showcased in October during Phoenix Fashion Week. The collection was composed of four mini-collections – the “Matriarch Collection,” “Shattered Collection,” “Broken Ground Collection,” and “Limitless Collection.” The “Matriarch Collection” was inspired by the traditional ensembles of the Acoma Pueblo women. The “Shattered Collection” was inspired by the concept of broken pottery coming together again to form a new masterpiece. The “Broken Ground Collection” was inspired by the belief of breaking new ground and setting a new standard of progress of Native American fashion. The “Limitless Collection” was inspired on the concept of limitless possibilities that are inspired by the unbound skies. One dress stood out that evening, a purple butterfly print dress with butterfly fascinator. Loren explains that this look, “It is understood by the Acoma people, that the butterfly is a symbol of hope and good fortune. It is a carrier of prayers and a deliverer of good news. The butterfly is also a symbol of change and evolution. The butterfly has been an inspiration to my work starting in my fine art illustrations in a series entitled “Wings.” The idea was based on the thought of broken pieces of pottery or shards, coming together to formulate a new design. On another level the idea of the shards has a major influence in my work. Much like the use of shards used back into traditional pottery making, so is the idea that even when we are broken, we can find a means of bringing the pieces together to start anew. With that concept, you will come to realize that shards form the wings of the butterfly. The collection in my fashions is an extension from the “Wings” art series and has been titled the “Endure & Rise” collection. The title recognizes the endurance of Natives and our rise over the centuries through struggle and adversity, much like the endurance in existence of the butterfly through time. It makes me wonder what stories the butterfly has to tell in seeing the world transform and in being connected to our ancestors.”
Be sure to check out the ACONAV website to shop and get more information on the brand.