© Dawn Kish
MOCCASIN MAKERJesus "Jesse" Aguiar
Jesus "Jesse" Aguiar has a thing for leather. He's been crafting all sorts of leather goods, including wallets, belts and purses, since 1969. But when a friend suggested he make moccasins for a company in Tucson, Aguiar tapped into his niche. "It was really simple for me," he says. "I took to it like a duck to water." These days, Aguiar makes his beautiful handmade moccasins for Arizona's Hopi and Navajo tribes. For Hopis, he makes moccasins for Katsina dancers in three different colors: rust, white and turquoise. For Navajos, he typically makes a deerskin wrap-style moccasin with a rust-colored toe. "The women mainly wear those," he says. In 2011, Aguiar opened San Agustin Trading Co., a retail shop where he creates custom moccasins. "[Wearing moccasins is] like walking barefoot," he says. "They wear forever, and they're really comfortable. Some people come into the store who have moccasins I made 20 or 30 years ago."
— Kathy Ritchie
For more information, call 520-971-7803 or visit www.sanagustintradingcompany.com.