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Lloyd Kiva New, Indigenous Fashion Designer

In honor of Ingenious People’s Day, let’s look at fashion designs by Lloyd Kiva New.


New was Cherokee and born in Oklahoma in 1916 and in 1945 he opened a boutique in Arizona to sell his fashion designs. According to Dr. Jessica Metcalfe, New often collaborated with other Ingenious artists who created things like buttons or textile designs. In 1951 he became the first Native American designer to participate in an international fashion show.

In 1955 the Reading Eagle newspaper featured this photo and a story about New’s designs, writing among other things that he designed and printed his own fabrics and employed people from a nearby Hopi reservation. They also wrote that his cocktail gowns and sun dresses “sell for as much as the most elegant fashions shown in Fifth avenue shops of New York” and that locals and tourists alike were fighting over them.



According to the New York Times, he left the fashion industry in the late 1950s to take on educational projects, like co-founding the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1962.