Bisagra, the Spanish word for “hinge”, grew out of a vision to open a door for Diné artists and provide a pathway for them to showcase their work in larger, mainstream fashion markets. Bisagra’s founder, Judy Campbell Clancy, began working with Mabel Canuto – a talented Diné seamstress—-in 1978 to sew a fashion line of cowboy shirts. It was troubling to Campbell Clancy how a people so talented and richly steeped in weaving heritage could experience one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Her work with Canuto became an effort to combat systematic racism and poverty by creating job opportunities within the Dine communities for weavers and other artists.
This photo of Campbell Clancy and Canuto and her daughter, Belinda Gallegos , along with a whole team of weavers and artists who Canuto trained, was taken in 1982 right at the time that Campbell Clancy established the clothing line “Dineh” in Halchita, Utah. “Dineh” was the first attempt to create sustainable jobs within the “cut and sew” industry while highlighting the incredible talent of the Dine' people.
Bisagra, created in 2022, is Campbell Clancy’s most recent project to continue her mission. Bisagra’s Indigenous designers, stylists, marketing team, and labor force creates a contemporary clothing line that is authentically Native American inspired, adding a marketable couture twist. Peter Ray James's "spirit animals'' are the inspiration for this new collection. Bisagra will contract work from other small ready-to-wear houses that need production assistance. Its headquarters in Farmington, New Mexico at an incubator at San Juan College Business Center, will employ a proven “cut and sew” labor force of talented Diné people.
*The Navajo Indigenous People of the Southwest United States
The Navajo Indigenous People of the Southwest United States
Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson showed a knack for writing at a young age, and after high school began his career in journalism while serving in the United States Air Force. He lived in Woody Creek, Colorado. Following his military service, Thompson traveled the country to cover a wide array of topics for numerous magazines and developed an immersive, highly personal style of reporting that would become known as “Gonzo Journalism.”
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is based on articles that Hunter S. Thompson wrote for Rolling Stone magazine while covering George McGovern during the 1972 election campaign while on the press bus. (photo of Hunter S. Thompson and Judy Clancy in CO)
Copyright photo by Deborah Fuller
Our Executive Team
Peter Ray James is a 1984 honors graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has also attended the Parsons School of Design in New York City Peter Ray James introduced his art to the competitive Indian Art world in the spring of 1988. Since then he has sold a little over 1,200 masks and goo canvases. His art has been on album covers, prominent art show posters, and numerous newspaper and magazine covers.
His celebrity collectors include Ahmad and Phylicia Rashad, Ted Danson, John Bon Jovi , and Wynonna Judd. "I am known among my Navajo people as Nahat'a Yilth Vil Wood one who delivers the message." It is my Navajo name that braids many generations of prayers, symbolism, tradition, honor, knowledge, and love. I truly believe my destiny is to be a storyteller through my artist endeavors. I am always honored and respectful to represent my family name in my homeland and abroad".
Sally Beers, an expert in design and patternmaking, is a consultant and technical advisor for Bisagra. She has over 40 years of experience working with industry giants such as Gap Inc. and Eileen Fisher as well as small apparel companies like Sierra Peaks and Homefrocks. In addition to design, she leads the team to train and direct new patternmakers within the company. Skilled in all aspects of import, domestic, knit, and woven production, Beers is excited to bring her expertise to the Bisagra team.
Cynthia Trujillo, assistant designer and sample maker, learned to sew by hand at the age of 7 with her mother cutting out Barbie Doll patterns. By the age of 12, she was using a sewing machine and making her younger sister’s clothes. As she got older, she gained a reputation for sewing and design and made custom outfits, adding in applique, piece, and painting work.
During her time in the alterations department at The Young Men’s Shop, a high-end men & women’s clothing store in Boalsburg, PA, she learned the intricate work of tailoring men’s clothing, and how to take apart clothing and put them back together. This is where her hand sewing skills came in handy, working with delicate and more difficult fabrics such as chiffon, silk, organza, etc. She apprenticed with an Italian tailor, and eventually became the manager of the alterations department. In 1985, she worked in alterations at a bridal shop, deepening her understanding about how to fit and sew complex fits.
During all of her jobs in alterations, she continued to do custom sewing for private clients. She began to explore sewing contemporary outfits with a Native flair. She had experience sewing Navajo traditional styles but wanted to explore and expand her brand, Cynthia Trujillo Designs. She entered her first fashion show as a designer in Tuba City, AZ, in 2017 and has gone on to compete in shows on and off the Navajo reservation in Kayenta (AZ), Albuquerque (NM), Window Rock (AZ), Denver (CO), Santa Fe (NM), and New York City.
She earned a Business Administration degree from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO in 2017. She brings her passion for producing quality design work as well as her business savvy to Bisagra, and is excited to watch the new company develop.
Belinda Gallegos is a member of the Dine people; She first met Judy Campbell Clancy in 1982 when her mother, Mabel Canuto, began collaborating with Campbell Clancy’s brand “Dineh”. In addition to sewing, she worked as a store manager for FedEx. Now, she joins the Bisagra team as the Assistant Manager. Belinda is the 'problem solver "of the Bisagra team. Her brilliant personality and patience keeps Bisagra motivated every day.
Judy Campbell Clancy is a stylist, consultant, and social justice advocate based in Durango, Colorado.. Her impulse to start Bisagra came from her experience working with talented weavers, seamstresses, and other Dine artists for over 40 years. In 1982, she started DINEH, a clothing company inspired by Native American design and fashion. Through her partnerships with Utah Navajo Industries and the Navajo Nation's government under Chairman Peterson Zah's Women's office. In 1982 she established, managed production, and assisted stylists in two sewing factories (located in Halchita, Utah and Fort Defiance, Arizona).
She also owned and operated a small clothing boutique, Smelters Coalroom, in Durango, Colorado for 30 years, and has worked as a manager and consultant to larger fashion designers such as Sara Campbell Ltd. and recently with Gabriela Hearst who brought her first Navajo Weaving onto the New York fashion runway in her Spring/Summer collection in 2022. Her mission with Bisagra is to help combat poverty and low unemployment on the Navajo Nation and Farmington, New Mexico, by creating meaningful job opportunities and highlighting talented weavers and seamstresses. Her goal is to provide a platform where Indigenous artists are empowered to create and influence the mainstream fashion industry with their unique voices and talents.
Courtney L. Martin is a queer female figurative artist and designer working primarily in Minneapolis. She uses traditional media to experiment with visual situations involving enigmatic characters with their own unique identity and presence. Martin uses numerous references ranging from pop culture to historical events to invite viewers into examining their own preconceived, psychological projections of identity performance, cultural history, and gender roles. Martin has a BFA in Painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and in 2007 received an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Endowment for The Arts. She has exhibited internationally from London to Italy and her work resides in private collections all over the world.
Heather Good, fabric manager, has an extensive background in the fashion industry with a specialization in textiles. She graduated magna cum laude from FIDM and FIT with degrees in Product Development and International Trade & Marketing. She began her career in New York City where she held various roles in product development and production. In 2021 she relocated to the southwest where she has been able to continue her career in the industry both locally and remote, serving clients across the U.S.
Jarard Jaquez, is our social media intern who recently graduated from San Juan College on May 13th, 2023 which also was the same day as his birthday, with an Applied Science Associates Degree in Digital Media Arts & Design. At a young age he’s gain the passion of designing and creating content through the web and now he is pursuing that passion of his through Bisagra with marketing our products and the company’s social media connections. Through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, he has helped shared his feedback and knowledge on helping Bisagra shape into what it is now through our social media to reach an audience online.
Kenisha Yazzie is a graphic designer at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. Over the past few years, she has been dedicated to crafting her skills in designing and hand-painting canvas shoes, as well as creating captivating posters. Kenisha is currently employed by Bisagra, where she specializes in fabric design and assists with sublimation printing at SJC. In addition to her professional pursuits, she is a full-time student at SJC, with plans to graduate in Spring 2024. Kenisha also dedicates her time to working as a part-time CNA. Her aspirations include a career in Graphic Design in Seattle, with a vision of eventually establishing her own shop, specializing in customizing shoes for prominent sports leagues.