Desert Canvas: Loren Aragon

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We bring you a new feature, “Desert Canvas,” which profiles local artists. First, the story of Loren Aragon, a fashion designer who takes inspiration from his Native American heritage.

Ruelas: tonight, part of a series called desert canvas in which we profile local artists, we start with Loren Aragon a fashion designer who takes inspiration from his native American heritage.
Aragon: This is a passion that I never thought that I could live out like I wanted to. It takes a lot of work.
Aragon: the advancement in the arts and in native American arts. I was just so overwhelmed and inspired by it that I wanted to be a part of it. So, that it where the whole wanting to get into the arts came from.
Aragon: Aconav actually started as a greeting card company a couple of years ago. Actually, since my high school days. When I met my wife we started up the business again just as an interest in the arts that we had. We combined our skills to generate some unique greeting cards and we came up with the name aconav. It’s an acronym. Me being acamo and her being Navajo we just combined the two names and we just made a cultural collaboration.
Valentina Aragon: I’m glad that I’m there for him to be able to bounce off ideas. So he’ll discuss concepts or kind of through ideas and he’ll draw inspiration from different art or mostly from his culture and he’ll discuss that and I’m kind of like a sound board. And then from there he’ll take those and ideas and sketch them and he won’t show me.
Aragon: I come from the Acoma pueblo which is really known for their pottery art and their pottery art was really just that and was never really advanced outside of that-only a few people had. So that was a challenge in itself trying to represent acamo in a different medium. Design work is elaborate. Fine lines, designs take a lot of geometric patterns and different layouts. A lot of families through years develop these designs and I want to. My take on that and my family to be represented in some way like that.
V Aragon: Loren’s designs are so interesting because they kind of bridge that gap between contemporary and traditional designs. So it is really interesting to see how we makes those couture dresses.
Aragon: our culture believes in women and looks at them in high regard for their ability to create life. So this is from generations of them looking on them as strength.
V Aragon: You can be any woman of any color and he’ll showcase them.
Aragon: Disney actually reached out to me and wanted to request that I make a dress for them. Word got to them about what I was doing as far as taking traditional pottery elements and using them in my designs and that fell right along the lines of what they where looking at as the exhibit for creating traditions, innovation and change in native American art.
V Aragon: I just love supporting native designers because there are not many of them out there and to be wearing something that Loren has made, I feel like I’m making a good investment in the future towards native fashion.
V Aragon: it’s exciting to see someone, or even exciting to see us, live out our dreams. It’s unexplainable, I can’t put it into words what it feels like to actually do what you dream of.
Aragon: in my grandfather’s words he would say ‘don’t be scared, carry on, carry on as a man.’ And to women who are out there aspiring to do what they want to do ‘carry on as a strong woman.’
Ruelas: Aragon got his degree in engineering at ASU and he said his culture, love of art, and engineering all really helped his fashion design.

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