Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Lloyd Kiva New – The Father of Contemporary Native Fashion Design

Lloyd Kiva New, ca. 1968. IAIA Archives

“And while everyone knows that the world of fashion is indeed strange and capricious, it nonetheless represents one of the most basic and compelling of artistic impulses, from the simplest to the most complex of cultural enclaves – each has engaged in one form or another in the art of personal adornment.” – Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee)

Before Lloyd Kiva New co-founded the Institute of American Indian Arts, he was a successful Scottsdale fashion designer in the 1940s and 1950s. With his business, New tapped an entirely new market for Native artists, and his garments and accessories were recognized on a scale never seen before in Native clothing design. New became the first Native American to show at an international fashion show in 1951 with his participation in the Atlantic City International Fashion Show. In 1952 his clothing was featured in the Los Angeles Times as the trend to follow, and Miss Arizona Lynn Freyse wore a Kiva creation for the 1957 Miss America Pageant. Because of his accomplishments, New created more opportunities for Native people in the exciting world of fashion design.


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