A couture fashion designer from the Acoma Pueblo was chosen by ‘Imagineers’ at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Theme Park to design a gown that represents his culture.
“To be able to represent the southwest and Acoma Pueblo, all of that, is just awesome,” said designer Loren Aragon.
In 2014, Aragon left his job as an engineer to pursue a career as a high-fashion designer.
“We started out as a greeting card company actually,” said Aragon.
With experience and practice, Aragon and his wife eventually grew the company into ‘ACONAV.’
“A lot of designs were southwest-inspired, Native-inspired. So, I just really wanted to find a way to get my designs to be representative of who I am, where I’m from,” said Aragon.
Aragon’s designs caught the attention of Walt Disney’s ‘Imagineers,’ people who work for Walt Disney Engineering responsible for designing theme park attractions.
“They wanted to touch on artists who were reaching back into their ancestry, their culture, their traditions and bringing them forward to modern designs,” said Aragon.
Aragon was exactly the kind of designer they were looking for to help fill a new exhibit at Walt Disney World’s Epcot in their American Heritage Gallery called “Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art.”
“They scouted me out and found my booth and everything. We really would like love for you to design something inspired directly from a pottery piece,” said Aragon.
Aragon is using inspiration drawn from a traditional Acoma Pueblo Olla Pot, a short bowl with a wide bottom and more narrow top. Traditionally, the insides of olla pot’s are a rust color and the outside is painted with bold white and black tribal markings.
“It’ll be a gown. Looking back on the history of Disney and the many gowns worn by the Disney Princesses, I want it to be pretty much to that caliber,” said Aragon.
Aragon will fly the completed gown to Orlando, Florida himself at the beginning of June and the exhibit will open later this summer.
The exhibit is expected to run for three to five years.