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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Rez to Runway: JG Indie Collection Storms Onto the Fashion Scene
by Dawn Karima -

Stunning designs. Innovative lines. Passionate creativity. For fashion sensation, Jolonzo Goldtooth, these aspects are all part of a day’s work. This Dine designer is rapidly rising on the couture scene, and this interview shows us why.

DK) Wow! Just Wow! I know I say wow a lot, but that’s what comes to mind when I see your creations! How did you start creating?

Jolonzo) I officially started the JG Indie Collection in the summer of 2012. I wanted to express myself through art and I have always had a nostalgia for wearable art. Through self altercations and maturity I gained the confidence and felt the enlightened need to put needle to thread.

DK) What flows through your mind as you create? Do you visualize your designs first or create as you go? Share your process with us?

Jolonzo) I start the design process with sketches of imagery from dreams or random thought processes. The sketches help me as a guideline, as to all the materials needed for the project and a reference to the imagery I am trying to capture from my psyche. Thereafter, it’s all a matter of imagining the garment on a model and in motion. Through this procedure I see my work as wearable art that expresses myself, my inspiration and overall my aesthetics.

DK) Who are some of the influences on your creations? Where do you draw your inspiration? When you design, who do you have in mind to wear what you make?

Jolonzo) My influences come from many major designers, I respect there work and I am always mesmerized. I think to myself: wow, that is art and beauty all summed up into a work that can be worn. This inspires an encourages me to be creative and artistic without borders. I draw my artistic inspiration from everyday life: cardio running through the New Mexican desert, trips to other lands, art galleries, intertribal experiences, history, etc.

When in the process of creating a garment I always imagine a strong Native figure wearing my work. A individual who can identify with myself, Indigenous Peoples and our rich, prideful, respectful and influential culture.

DK) In your mind, what’s the Golden Age of Fashion? Which era do you like best? If you could design for anyone past or present, who would it be? Why?

Jolonzo) I definitely attest to being a modernist, who is very respectful of the past and is always looking forward to a balanced future.

As a millennial I feel this generational label is reflected in my work and that the golden age of fashion is now and what will be in the future. We currently live in a world that is highly automatic and global and I personally believe that there is no “end all, be all” idea in trendy fashion anymore. We can attain pictures and information via the World Wide Web so fast it influences our personal fashion taste and encourages originality and authenticity, the notion of one dominate style or trend is obsolete.

I would like to design a garment for a current public figure, like our First Lady Michelle Obama. She is a renowned fashion icon and a beautiful figure of a modern woman. When the day does come that she wears a JG Indie garment, the satisfaction will not be a personal but a shared achievement, with her political and global influences, people will be able to gain insight to the continued artistic accomplishments of the Native American/First Nations Peoples.

DK) Of all your creations, which are your very favorites? Describe some of them for us and tell us why they are your favorites?

Jolonzo) I will describe three favorites that are my statement and signature pieces.

Snow Leopard Queen: The Burgundy Obe belt is my very first creation and is reminiscent of my feelings during summer 2012. We currently live in a world that is consumer driven and wasteful. I saw a curtain that was going to be thrown away and I asked if I could have it as I was drawn to the color. I didn’t see the material as a curtain but as reusable fabric for something else, long story short, it has been repurposed as a beautiful Obe belt in the Snow Leopard Dress. This is the initial foundation of the JG Indie name and purpose; Up.cycling Fashion. This Earth is sacred, precious and sensitive, even in fashion we can reduce and reuse.

Birds of Paradise: In this creation I was influenced by the many birds we see each day, and respect in our indigenous manner. On the bust is a raven, who is entwined in many indigenous origin stories.The skirting is a light and transparent fabric print, colorful like our feathered friends, this dress pays ode to our sky messengers.

Salt Willow: I live in Northern New Mexico on my family ranch, Pete Springs Ranch, it is located near a place called Gallegos Wash. I am a habitual runner and there is nothing I love more than running outdoors and cross country. I usually encounter Gallegos Wash everyday, and one day I was intrigued by all the salt willows that stood out in the white silted banks, and it dawned on me to use the naturalistic setting as inspiration. This is my ode to the desert oasis of my native lands.

DK) How can we own, order or enjoy more of your designs? Please share your contact info!

Jolonzo) JG Indie in partnership with supporting agencies are growing the brand and gaining support. Fall 2014 is the launch of the website and new product, which will include couture clothing, accessories, beadwork and screen print active wear.

Jolonzo) JG Indie is also featured in Native Max Magazine and aesthetic images can be seen in the magazine’s past and current issues.

As the designer and owner of the JG Indie Collection, I do take special garment orders and can be contacted via email:

“You can also like the JG Indie Facebook page”

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