Diné Weaver Naiomi Glasses Is Back With Another Polo Ralph Lauren Collab


Polo Ralph Lauren is joining forces with seventh-generation Diné (Navajo) weaver Naiomi Glasses once again, in the second drop of their groundbreaking "Artist in Residence" collaboration. The first part of this collection was a celebration of nature, reflecting her deep connection to her craft, the beauty of her Indigenous culture, told through a palette of natural shades and hues. But that’s only one part of Glasses’ story. “Color in Motion”, the second chapter in this artist in residence story, pushes past tradition, weaving together her centuries-long wool weaving heritage with her love of skateboarding.

Teen Vogue spoke with Glasses via Zoom from her home in Rock Point, on the Navajo Reservation, to learn more about the natural elements that inspired the garments, her connection to skateboarding and how community has always been at the heart of it all.

“I have been a Ralph Lauren fan ever since I was a child. My mom, she just dressed me in Ralph Lauren dresses all the time growing up,” Glasses tells Teen Vogue. “I thought, well, one day, with my weaving, I'd love to put my designs on clothing.” As her weaving practice developed, her mother asked her to think more clearly about how she’d like to pursue her craft through fashion, including asking her to envision which brands she’d one day like to collaborate with. At the top of the list was Ralph Lauren. “It's a beautiful thing that I wrote that when I was like 19, and now like, I'm 27 and we're now on our second drop, and it's just such a beautiful thing that comes full circle.”

While the first part of the residency focused on the neutral colors that wool naturally occurs in, a nod to her earliest days weaving with discarded wool from her grandmother’s trading practice as a child, the next phase is a blast of color, a living representation of life as a Native person in the present moment. A reminder that Native people are very much still here, living joyful, sometimes unconventional lives with their own subcultures.

<cite class="credit">POLO BY RALPH LAUREN</cite>

“I felt like this was a good chance to show another facet of my life. [This collection] really shows my skateboarding and exactly why I got into it, because I was being bullied growing up, because of my bilateral cleft lip and palate,” she says. Glasses also shared that Ralph Lauren will be donating proceeds of this collection to the Phoenix Children's Foundation which will benefit Native families who may live in remote areas, in need of transportation funds to the Cleft and Craniofacial Center.

The garments in the collection, she says, are the realization of needs she had as a teen, when the nearest skatepark was over 50 miles away. What 16-year-old Naiomi might have wanted for her wardrobe as a teen, using skating as an outlet to express herself and escape for a while. “And so, a lot of this collection is based around what I thought would have been really cool to wear in that time, if I had had clothing to wear.”

To bring the collection to life, Glasses has assembled a team, in nearly every facet of the collection – from conception to campaign shoot – that includes family and friends from all walks of Native life. Glasses curated a collection of silver and turquoise jewelry handmade from artists from around the Navajo Nation, Hopi, San Felipe and Zuni Pueblos to complement the clothing. She also tapped friends like models Quannah Chasinghorse, Phillip Bread, and Hud Oberly, and actor Tatanka Means to join the campaign cast. Prados Beauty founder and CEO Cece Meadows returned to the palette to provide makeup artistry. A short documentary vignette accompanied the collection from award-winning Diné filmmaker Shanaadiin Tome. Glasses’ brother Tyler did traditional Navajo buns on her and other models. The effect is nothing short of true Native cool. It's absolutely deadly.

<cite class="credit">POLO BY RALPH LAUREN</cite>

“Having Indigeneity represented not only in front of the camera, but behind the camera too. And that's something I really advocated for even with this shooting of the campaign. It was just being a part of a community, gathering up some friends and then doing a photoshoot, but it was so much more than that.”

As for what’s next, Glasses shared that part three of the collection will be coming next fall, but as for what we can expect? Well, we’ll have to wait to see what’s on the horizon.

The first two drops of the collection are now available on RalphLauren.com, the Ralph Lauren App, and in select global stores, while quantities last. Jewelry items are also available in select stores, in Phoenix, Arizona and New York City.

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue