Colleen Jennings-Roggensack and designer Loren Aragon on the ASU Gammage stage

ASU alumnus and ASU Gammage take on the 2019 Tony Awards

By

Ellie Borst

Glitz, glam and a rich sense of community will be represented on stage at this year’s 73rd annual Tony Awards in New York City on Sunday, June 9.

And thanks to two members of the ASU family, those qualities also will be on the red carpet.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack — the executive director of ASU Gammage, ASU's vice president for cultural affairs and a Tony Awards voter since 1995 — will attend the red carpet wearing a custom-made gown created by ASU alumnus Loren Aragon.

Aragon is the designer and artist for ACONAV, a Native American-owned and -operated couture fashion brand based in Phoenix. He has dedicated his brand to both the empowerment of women and representation of Native people.

Loren Aragon

“We’re a really different realm of fashion and we bring a lot of different things to the table as far as aesthetic,” he said. It is all culturally fueled.” 

Aragon graduated from ASU with a degree in mechanical engineering in 2004.

His previous designs have been featured at Disneyworld for its 2018 exhibit, "Creating Traditions: Innovation and Change in Native American Art," and at Phoenix Fashion Week. 

Aragon was asked to design a custom dress for Jennings-Roggensack, Arizona’s sole Tony Awards voter. 

“Being able to represent Native fashion and our culture, the Acoma Pueblo, on this type of platform is something that is unbelievable,” Aragon said. 

The color of the dress, a vibrant red, is an homage to ancestry and an awareness of the missing and murdered Indigenous women movement, according to Aragon. The geometric shapes on the dress represent the pottery art culture of the Acoma Pueblo. 

“I want viewers to see that Native fashion is definitely thriving and making its mark in the greater fashion industry, Aragon said. 

Jennings-Roggensack said she is absolutely thrilled to be representing Aragon’s work and message on the red carpet in New York City. 

“When I looked at Loren Aragon’s work I thought, ‘This is it,” she said. I want all of the communities all over the world to see it.” 

Jennings-Roggensack said she could not have asked for a designer who better represents not only ASU’s goal of innovation, but someone who also represents his culture and heritage so deeply. 

“I feel like I’m wearing something that is bigger than I am, she said.

Top article: Colleen Jennings-Roggensack and Loren Aragon on the ASU Gammage stage for the final dress fitting. Photo courtesy ASU Gammage