Native American designer Dugi visits with CSU students, gives public talks

Orlando Dugi, the Native American fashion designer whose high-end evening wear is on exhibit at CSU’s Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising this fall, visited campus Nov. 6-13 to give public talks, visit with classes, and see his premier solo exhibition in person for the first time.

Dugi, who is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, learned his intricate beadwork technique as a boy from his Navajo grandmother. He combines beading and feather work from his Navajo heritage with sophisticated modern silhouettes for his distinctive creations, which range from dresses to handbags.

Dugi gave a public lecture at the Avenir on Nov. 7, then attended a “Funding Fashion” cocktail and hors d’oeuvres party at the museum the next night, where attendees raised enough money for the Avenir to purchase one of his designs for its permanent collection.

On Nov. 9, Dugi spent much of the day at the museum, giving three gallery talks and visiting with patrons. During his week on campus, he gave presentations to students in eight classes, primarily in the Department of Design and Merchandising.

Classes visited by Dugi

  • AM250: Clothing, Adornment, and Human Behavior
  • AM342: Computer-Aided Textile Design
  • KEY192: Key Community Seminar; Design
  • ART317: Native North American Art
  • AM101: Fashion Industries
  • AM446: Apparel Design and Production
  • AM460: Historic Textiles

He also met with students and staff of the Native American Cultural Center and the Pride Resource Center on Nov. 7, followed by a Nov. 11 visit with students and staff in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

Dugi said he enjoyed speaking with so many CSU students during his visit.

“It’s also kind of a learning thing for me too,” Dugi said. “When people ask questions, then it makes me really think about what I’m saying and what I’m doing in real life … and translate how and why I’m doing what I’m doing, and where all the inspiration comes from.”

The exhibition, “Walking in Beauty: Designs by Orlando Dugi,” opened in July and runs through Dec. 14. The Avenir Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, at 216 E. Lake St. in Fort Collins.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.