Each week we will be highlighting one of the fabulous emerging designers from Phoenix Fashion Week 2016. This week, meet Loren Aragon, fashion designer of ACONAV, a brand of “cultural designs embodied in timeless elegance.”
Hometown: Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
First fashion job: My first fashion job was creating designs for a bride and her entire wedding party. It was only my second year in the fashion scene and a client from home (Acoma Pueblo) had noticed my work from a show in Santa Fe and wanted me as her designer for her big day. It was my first big order and a lot of work! It was also a great learning experience in working with custom fit to a range of sizes. The gown itself took some special attention with all the details the bride wanted and I was going to make sure she had it all for that special day.
When did you know you had a passion for fashion: I realized my passion for fashion when I built up my first full collection of 15 designs. I had seen how well my first few samples were received and I wanted to show more, so I put a lot of hard work into designing that first full collection. I felt I had something unique and people took notice. The positive response was very motivating.
Person who has impacted your life the most: My mother, she’s supported me in all my endeavors since day one and has always been there to encourage me through trying times.
Your biggest fashion accomplishment in your eyes: Creating a 20 piece collection to debut in PLITZS New York Fashion Week in less than a month. This challenge proved that I could push my creativity beyond my limits and create multiple pieces in a hectic schedule. It made me think fast and realize I had to change my ways of managing my team to accomplish goals and deliver successfully.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: I encounter and continuously work against stereotypes and negativity that often lead indigenous people to detrimental results. There are a number of negative influences that plague our Native communities. There is a loss of culture and identity among Native tribes, and there is a real challenge to find ways to preserve who we are. The challenge I have chosen to face is to demonstrate to others, especially our youth, that anything is possible if we choose NOT to fall to adversity, pursue positive change, and inspire one another. I hope to demonstrate this through my fashion.
A Designer who inspires you: Virgil Ortiz, Native American Artist and Designer from the Cochiti Pueblo of New Mexico. He’s been a pioneer in the Native arts and has shown great resilience to much adversity in fashion. I admire his persistence and passion in all he does. He continues to be innovative in various art forms, displaying countless possibilities of infusing culture into art and fashion.
Favorite quote: “Try Not… Do or Do Not… There Is No Try” -Master Yoda
Advice to someone pursuing a career in fashion as a designer: Be confident, be resilient, be limitless, and don’t hold back your creativity.
Favorite piece you have ever designed: The mermaid gown from my Broken Ground series. I feel this design truly captures everything I want to present in my fashion designs, it displays the embodiment of my culture into an elegant design that seems timeless.
For more information about ACONAV, visit aconav.com.
If you would like to attend Phoenix Fashion Week 2016, you can purchase tickets here: bit.ly/PHXFWFABAZ. Use promo code FABAZ for $20 gift card good towards any seat (not applicable towards standing room tickets).