Since 1995, Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU Gammage executive director, has been Arizona’s only Tony Awards voter. In the recent years, she has used the red carpet to spotlight the best fashion design coming out of Arizona.
At past ceremonies, she has worn gowns by Estéban Osuna (Estéban Couture in Tucson), Lana Gerimovich (Alis Fashion Design in Scottsdale) and Rosa Caradenas (owner of the former Blush Boutique in Phoenix).
For this year’s ceremony June 9 at Radio City Musical Hall in New York City, she wore a one-of-a-kind couture gown by Native American Loren Aragon, designer of Aconav.
Aconav is a Native American-owned fashion brand based in Phoenix specializing in women’s couture evening wear. In 2017, Aconav stole the spotlight and won the coveted Phoenix Fashion Week Designer of the Year title.
Aragon founded Aconav on the idea of connecting with the world through shared cultural beliefs. He uses natural fabrics and traditional pottery hues, and makes everything – sketches, patterns and sewing – in house.
The designer’s mission is to respectfully represent a part of the Native American culture in high-end fashion, with the idea of evoking the empowerment of the female spirit. “As a native-operated fashion brand, I strive to represent a part of the Native American culture with the highest respect,” Aragon says.
Aconav is a luxury brand recognized by the authentic influence of the Acoma Pueblo culture which fuels the inspiration of unique couture creations. The inspiration is deeply rooted on the values and ideas of the matriarchal lineage of the Acoma people and their world-renowned pottery art practices.
Shortly after winning the Phoenix Fashion Week title, Walt Disney World tasked Aragon to create a truly one-of-a-kind, timeless piece, to be a part of a new exhibition, “Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art” in Orlando, Florida, showcasing native communities from seven geographic regions across the United States.
Aragon created the Tony red dress with geometric black appliqué also inspired by his Acoma Pueblo heritage. One more time, the designer takes pottery design to a unique wearable art form.