Acoma Pueblo designer, Loren Aragon is the mastermind behind ACONAV. He is channeling inspiration from Native American culture and creating beautifully crafted designs. The name ACONAV represents the cultures of Loren and his wife Valentina. Loren is from the Acoma Pueblo and Valentina is from the Navajo (Diné).
Aragon’s brand, based in Phoenix, originally started out as a greeting card company in 2008. Aragon explored the fine arts and then shifted over to jewelry making. His wife is the one who inspired him to pursue fashion design.
“It’s like painting a story,” said Aragon when asked about the creative process behind his designs.
ACONAV made its debut at Phoenix Fashion Week in 2016. Aragon came in close to winning Designer of the year. Aragon is very eager to showcase his new designs at this year’s fashion week.
At the 2017 Phoenix Fashion Week, Aragon won the title Designer of the Year. This is the first time in Phoenix Fashion Week’s nine-year history that a Native American owned fashion brand took top honors as the 2017 Couture Designer of the Year, according to a press release.
Traditional Acoma Pueblo pottery designs are becoming ACONAV’s signature design. He was inspired after reminiscing on watching his mother and aunt make traditional garments featuring those unique pottery designs. Aragon utilizes all original graphic designs on his creative clothing as well. Silk is one of his favorite fabrics to display his carefully crafted designs on.
“ACONAV’S designs really tell a story,” said MacKinley Lutes-Adlhoch, an Arizona State University student who attended Phoenix Fashion Week this year. “It was easy to see that Loren drew inspiration from his rich cultural background to create clothes that walked down the runway at Phoenix Fashion Week.”
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 also tie into modern style. Aragon created a hashtag for ACONAV called #EvokeEmpowerment. He said that the hashtag shines a light on standing up to cultural appropriation.
Each piece is something unique and something different. Aragon’s designs are not all about fashion, they represent his culture and his story.