“Two up-and-coming Southwest designers are releasing highly anticipated new looks this fall.Though Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) and Jared Yazzie (Diné) create fashions on opposite ends of the spectrum—beautifully-designed couture and issue-oriented streetwear, respectively—both designers look to tell the stories of their people through wearable art.” T. Walker, Native Peoples Magazine
Excerpt: New Fall Looks from Indigenous Designers, By Tate Walker, Native Peoples Magazine
“Aragon and Yazzie were led to fashion in roundabout ways, and while they both create awe-inspiring clothing concepts, the importance of their work goes beyond style. Indeed, as the popularity of their work grows, the two have stepped into the sometimes stressful but important role of ensuring Native peoples are respected and represented accurately in an industry that often reduces Indigenous cultures to monolithic, tribal-inspired trends.
aconav creator loren aragon at his home office. photo by tate walker
The bold, geometric strokes swirling across ACONAV gowns and dresses make them look like they belong in an art gallery next to priceless Acoma pottery.
Though it may seem Aragon has been creating women’s fashions for decades, the 36-year-old picked up his first needle just four years ago; he had worked as a mechanical engineer doing things like automotive testing and military applications for 13 years.
It was more of a wanting to reconnect with family, because I’ve seen my mother and aunts being seamstresses for most of their lives, so I thought I’d go back and learn some of that, says Aragon, who has always had a talent for making Acoma-style crafts, including museum-quality gourd work, jewelry and pottery.
Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) will show his pottery-inspired couture fashions on runways during PLITZS New York City Fashion Week on Sept. 10 and at Phoenix Fashion Week Oct. 13-15.
OXDX (It’s pronounced: Oh-Ex-Dee-Ex. Not Ox Docks).
oxdx creator jared yazzie at his home office. photo by tate walker
“OXDX stands for OverDose and pays homage to one of Jared Yazzie’s favorite punk rock bands, MxPx, which stands for Magnified Plaid. OXDX describes how we view the world and how we need to pull back and remember our culture and traditions, Yazzie says of his 7-year-old company, which officially launched as he gave away T-shirts to friends at his own birthday party.
Like the punk music he listens to as he works, what Yazzie does to create his T-shirts is nothing short of masterfully rebellious art. His design skill includes all the things you’d expect of a top-notch graphic artist, in addition to expert understanding of pop culture and its impact on Native identity and tribal issues.
People are experts at telling their own stories, and these days everyone’s story is so different, says Yazzie, adding that Natives need to be able to tell their own stories, whether through films, books or fashion, without outsiders trying to appropriate, steal or otherwise misrepresent hundreds of unique tribal cultures”
Jared Yazzie (Diné), known for creating streetwear that Indigenizes punk culture and doesn’t shy away from tough Native issues, will launch his 2016 fall lineup Sept. 17.