Fashion Tourism in Indian Country

July 2, 2024; 10 a.m. (Mountain)

Fashion tourism in Indian Country represents a unique intersection of cultural heritage, creative expression and economic opportunity. It involves visitors traveling to Indigenous communities specifically to experience, purchase and learn about traditional and contemporary Indigenous fashion. Two fashion designers will discuss how fashion can be developed and promoted in Indian Country to draw tourists into your community. They will share how fashion shows featuring traditional regalia and contemporary designs by Indigenous designers attract buyers and tourists. Events like the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market fashion shows have become highlighted events drawing designers and buyers from across the country. 


Mona Perea (San Ildefonso Pueblo) – Artist ServicesSouthwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA)
Ramona Perea is from San Ildefonso Pueblo. She has been in education the majority of her life along with many other positions like administrative, event planning, coaching, athletic director, etc.. She has three beautiful children and one amazingly cute grandson. She plans to work diligently with SWAIA to deliver excellent assistance to artists and to help make the Santa Fe Indian Markets a success!

Twila True (Oglala Lakota Sioux) – CEO and Co-Founder – True Family Enterprises
Twila True (Oglala Lakota Sioux) has family roots from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the poorest community in the U.S. Twila overcame a challenging family upbringing to become a successful entrepreneur, from investing and incubating, to owning and operating, multi-million dollar companies in real estate, entertainment, education, retail and consumer goods. In addition to her businesses, Twila’s charitable ventures include an orphanage assistance foundation in China and a Native American tribal foundation in the U.S. Twila True serves as Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of True Family Enterprises, a privately held investment firm managing its own companies with a wide range of operating companies across various industries. Twila True Fine Jewelry & Watches, one of her companies, is an accessible fine jewelry brand that she sells in their two luxury jewelry stores in California and Nevada. She recently helped found the Indigenous Fashion Collective, a platform dedicated to promoting, preserving, and advancing Indigenous fashion.

Peshawn Bread (Comanche) – Filmmaker + Creative Director + Designer + Model
Peshawn Bread (They/Them/She) is a queer screenwriter, director and producer from the Penatʉkʉ (sugar eater) and Yapurʉka (root eater) bands of the Comanche tribe. In 2021 they served as Creative Director for Teton Trade Cloth and brought in visibility to the brand as well as creating images that resonated with audiences globally such as Ralph Lauren. Peshawn currently works with Ralph Lauren as a Cultural Liaison, creating their own fashion brand House of Sutai while developing a TV Show. Coordinated, directed and fashion styled photoshoots and campaigns, as well as produced two fashion shows for Teton Trade Cloth.

Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) – Fashion Designer and Multimedia ArtistTowering Stone
Loren Aragon, from Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, is a fashion designer and multimedia artist. He grew up on the Acoma reservation surrounded by family, art and traditions. Loren was influenced by his grandmothers’ pottery, garments created by his aunt and jewelry-making from his uncle. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University. As an engineer, he was inspired by technology and incorporated it into his art. He uses his artistic roots and modern techniques to reimagine traditional designs of the Acoma Pueblo people to create illustration, sculpture, jewelry and fashion design. His fashion brand ACONAV, celebrates the strength and empowerment of women. Loren has achieved recognition for his talents in various Native art markets and a collaboration with Walt Disney World. He was also named the 2018 Phoenix Fashion Week Couture Designer of the Year.

Moderator: Savannah Sparvier (Lakota, Hunkpapa) – Native Arts & Culture Coordinator and Moderator – AIANTA 
Savannah Sparvier (Lakota, Hunkpapa) Lakota name: Cazé Yatapi Wiŋ , Everyone Calls Her Name, is the Native Arts & Culture Coordinator for AIANTA. As the Associate, Savannah will provide technical assistance and promotion to Native Nations and artists. Her work will expand participation of Native artists and cultural practitioners in the cultural and economic benefits of the tourism industry. Savannah grew up on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana but has lived in Albuquerque, NM, for 21 years. She grew up with family artists that did a variety of different arts such as star quilt makers, ribbon skirt makers, bead workers, quill workers, regalia makers, wood carvers and painters. This has influenced her own beadwork, wrapping and beading eagle feather shafts and ribbon skirt making. She is a proud mother of three, two daughters and a son. (Jessica, Hannah & Jacob) She received her associate degree in accounting from the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) located in Albuquerque, NM.