SANTA FE, NM — An international clothing company based in San Francisco is introducing a spring fashion line that exhibits Native American-inspired art and designs, including a collaboration with the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and work by Santa Fe-based artist Gregory Lomayesva, who is of Hopi and Hispanic heritage.
The company, Tea Collection, explores a different culture around the world each season and creates children’s clothes using designs inspired or created by local artists of that region. For 2018, the company decided to focus on the United States, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Laura Boes, vice-president for design, said it felt important for the company to tell the story of the cultures that make up the U.S.
Boes visited New Mexico in 2017 and her team worked with different pueblos and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, eventually asking Lomayesva and other Native artists in the U.S. to create graphics that could be reproduced.
By commissioning local artists or creating designs inspired by these cultures, Tea Collection tried to translate motifs and styles distinguishing the culture in a way children can enjoy, Boes said.
“Making the foreign familiar and bringing that into the lives of children is really special,” she said. “I hope that everybody in Santa Fe or with connection to the museum feels proud of our collection.”
Lomayesva said he has taught himself how to create all his art since he never went to school.
The contemporary painter and sculptor often uses aspects of his Hopi and Hispanic heritage in his works. More recently, Lomayesva has started creating vacuum tubes for different sound equipment used in recording studios and branching into photography.
When Tea Collection approached him about the fashion line, he said he had to do a lot of tweaking before creating designs suitable for children’s clothes.
“It was nice to chill out and stop trying to be some hot . artist and just return to the craft,” Lomayesva said. “It’s so fun.”
He said working on this project took him in a different direction than his other works, one with more vivid colours and happier meanings.
“It opened doors to a place in my brain I wasn’t using,” he said. “I really look forward to the future of what this has brought to me.”
Boes said she and her team worked with representatives of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture so that as the company looked to pueblo pottery for inspiration, it was not disrespecting the culture.
“A lot of clothing brands have appropriated Native American art,” Boes said. “We wanted to make sure we were telling the story in the right way.”