Kiva: Creating the First Native Fashion Label
While his name was on the label, Llyod Kiva New did not work alone, and collaborating with many Native artists. At one point, he employed fifteen assistants to help him carry out his high-quality designs. He worked with acclaimed Navajo artists Andrew Van Tsinhajinnie, who painted unique fabric designs, and Hopi artists Manfred Susunkewa, who helped design and silkscreen the quality fabrics, and Charles Loloma, who created the exclusive buttons, clasps, and metal detailing. New focused on a collaborative approach and created a ‘fashion house’ of sorts that mirrored European fashion companies. Within a few years, New established a strong national client base and his ‘Kiva’ purses were sold in popular department stores throughout the country.