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Navajo designer plans annual fashion show this weekend at museum
PV alum Jolonzo Goldtooth continues to build name for himself
FARMINGTON — Freshly returned from trips to Australia and Denver, Navajo designer Jolonzo Goldtooth will showcase his latest fashion line during the third annual Totah Benefit Fashion Show Saturday night at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.
The all-ages event features a social hour and live music, in addition to the fashion show featuring three designers. The social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., while the show begins at 6:30 p.m. at the museum, 3041 E. Main St. in Farmington. Tickets are $30 for VIPs, $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 5 to 17.
Goldtooth, a Piedra Vista High School alum who lives on his family's ranch on the Navajo Nation's Huerfano Chapter south of Bloomfield, has continued to expand his fashion design footprint around the world since making his debut at PLITZS New York City Fashion Week in February 2015. His recent journeys to Melbourne, Australia, and Denver will be followed by a trip to Provo, Utah, next week to show his line at a campus powwow at Brigham Young University.
But Goldtooth is looking forward to his event in his hometown this weekend.
"I'm excited to spearhead this project that is promoting indigenous artists all around here," he said. "I'm very proud to be from Farmington. I do all my online sales, so I'm able to stay here. If I move to a huge metropolis, I feel like I'll lose my (creative) vision."
That doesn't mean Goldtooth isn't filled with ambition. His globetrotting in recent years has helped him to build a client base and attract sponsorships that have allowed him to become a full-time, professional designer. His next goal, in addition to seeing his work become popular enough to be picked up by mainstream clothing manufacturers, is to open his own headquarters, preferably in downtown Farmington.
Goldtooth envisions the space serving as a retail outlet, work space and classroom space, a location where he could present workshops to help other young people from the Four Corners who are interested in pursuing fashion careers ranging from design, sewing and photography to hair styling, makeup and modeling.
Of all his accomplishments so far, Goldtooth seems most pleased with the fact that he's helped launch the careers of several local young people. Many of them are regular participants in ventures by his design company, JG Indie, and they have accompanied him on several of his trips, including three Navajo models who joined him in Australia. The JG Indie team was the only American group invited to the show, he said, explaining that the event also featured other indigenous designers from New Zealand, the Philippines and Canada.
Goldtooth has done all that while battling health issues for much of the last year. But he said he recently had his gall bladder removed and is feeling much better after recovering from the surgery. He's optimistic about the future of JG Indie and is pleased he's been able to stake out his own turf in a hypercompetitive field while staying grounded in the Four Corners area.
"There's demand for a lot of my work," he said. "There's a lot of interest. This is what I do day in and day out."
Goldtooth said he received applications from 40 models hoping to participate in Saturday's event, and he's excited to be showcasing not only his own work, but that of two other Native designers – Loren Aragon with his Aconav line that is inspired by Acoma pottery and Marisa Mike, a Phoenix area designer who incorporates Pendleton Woolen Mills designs into much of her work.
Saturday's show also will feature three indigenous musical acts with differing styles – the classic rock of JJ Otero, the indie rock of the Tundra Tigers and hip hop by Writtyn.
Email Jolonzo@gmail.com for more information.
Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.