The Abbe Museum Indian Market Fashion Show highlights the work of Indigenous fashion designers who draw inspiration from their tribal identities to present their culture through a modern lens. This year's designers are ACONAV (Acoma Pueblo/Navajo), Ingrid Brooks (Mi'kmaq), Leslie Deer (Muskogee Nation of Oklahoma), Niio Perkins (Haudenosaunee), Dawn Spears (Narragansett/Choctaw). VIP tickets are available for purchase ahead of the event. VIPs will get exclusive seating during the fashion show and be invited to a reception directly after to mix & mingle with the designers, plus get to see the designs close up — all with some good food and beverages.

We’re looking for volunteer models! Strut your stuff in some fabulous Native designed clothing and accessories, representing everything from couture looks to streetwear -- and it's all for a great cause. Models will need to be available on Saturday, May 18 at 1 pm, with the show being from 6 - 7. If you are interested please reach out to volunteer@abbemuseum.org or call 207-288-3519. 

 
 
 


Designers

ACONAV - Loren Aragon, Acoma Pueblo

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Loren Aragon is a Native American fashion designer and artist from the Acoma Pueblo of New Mexico. Loren was introduced to the traditional and contemporary arts at an early age with his mother as his mentor. Although the link to art was constant it was his grandfather who encouraged him to pursue a technological career path. After attaining his degree from the Arizona State University in 2004, Aragon established himself in a career as an engineer working and living in Phoenix, Ariz.

Living away from the Acoma community led to the discovery of new skill sets, a new appreciation for the arts, and a necessity to find a means of cultural preservation for his people. Aragon ventured back into the arts in 2008 and found the passion to express his artistic talents outside of being an engineer. In 2012, a fellowship from the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, NM allowed Aragon to study developing his own textiles for use in fashion designs. The discovery of fashion design was another means for Loren to express his artistic talents, allowing him to capture innovative ideas influenced by the pottery culture and traditional dress of the Acoma people. The name ACONAV was created to signify an artistic collaboration from two indigenous cultures between Loren (Acoma) and his wife Valentina (Navajo). In 2017 ACONAV was named Phoenix Fashion Week 2018 Designer of the Year, becoming the first Native American fashion brand to be named such in the history of Phoenix Fashion Week.

Ingrid Brooks, Mi’kmaq

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Ingrid Brooks is a Mi’kmaq artist from Indian Island First Nation, New Brunswick whose work reflects a passion for shedding light on issues in first nation communities. She received a visual arts degree from the College of Art & Design in Fredericton and apprenticed with several artists, including Joe John Sanipass, Louie Clair, and Diana Witherall. Over the year’s Ingrid’s work has been displayed at many museum’s across Nova Scotia. After sewing pow-wow regalia for 15 years, she recently decided to pursue runway fashion which quickly garnered critical claim. Her first show was at the 2018 International Indigenous Fashion Week in Toronto, which led to her pieces being shown during International Indigenous Fashion Week in Paris.

Leslie Deer, Muskogee Nation of Oklahoma

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The first thing people notice about Leslie Deer’s designer garments is the influences of her Mvskoke people and their ancestors, the Moundbuilders. Leslie’s designs reflect classic southeastern tribal iconography infused with her 12-year career as an international professional dancer with the American Indian Dance Theatre ensemble. She utilizes intricate applique, bright color combinations, curvilinear lines, and traditional woodlands ribbonwork – foundational to southeastern tribal and Moundbuilder motifs. Leslie prefers to use natural fibers and strives to be as sustainable as possible by producing very limited editions of her garments and maximizing use of fabric scraps.

Leslie Deer apparel collections range from recent purchases by the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC to world renown pow wow drum group Northern Wind. She recently presented her newest apparel collection at the Chickasaw Cultural Center’s 2018 Holba Pisachi Native Film Festival Fashion Show in July. Additionally, new work was presented at the Santa Fe Indian Market in August 2018.

Niio Perkins, Haudenosaunee

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Niio Perkins (Bear Clan, Haudenosaunee) is an award- winning designer and owner of Niio Perkins Designs in Akwesasne, New York. Her work has been purchased by and exhibited at prestigious galleries throughout North America. Her seminal work, a Haudenosaunee woman’s traditional outfit entitled “Emma,” was featured in the Native Fashion Now exhibition that traveled nationally to institutions such as Peabody Essex Museum and Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. She recently expanded her offerings, debuting a ready-to-wear clothing line as part of a showcase at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. Niio incorporates natural materials, heirloom fabrics and antique goods in her work and designs each piece inspired by the vibrant artistic tradition of her people. An expert in the Iroquois raised beadwork technique, her distinctive creations are sought after throughout the Indigenous art world. Her recent venture into textiles has opened a new world of possibilities.

Dawn Spears, Narragansett/Choctaw

“Drawing on my northeastern woodland culture, my contemporary, free hand abstract designs incorporate the vibrant colors, symbolism, patterns and elements from the natural world. I am continually influenced by the eastern woodland floral and basket designs used by our ancestors. I use symbols from nature, deconstructing every image from a forest landscape to a twig, the lines, curves and contrasts are where I gain my inspiration. I like creating work that is subjective and thought provoking. I love creating fine art; however, painting on clothing has been a long standing dream for me. I feel like my art invigorates the wearer. Bright, bold designs invoke a sense of confidence and strength that empower one to conquer whatever challenge may lie ahead.”

Dawn Spears, (Narragansett/Choctaw) is the Executive Director of Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA). NIAA is a consortium formed from her prior role as the Native Arts Program Manager for the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in Boston, MA. This newly formed organization works to support the Native American artist population regionally by sharing resources and artist opportunities, addressing artist needs and seeking ways to increase their visibility in the northeast.