Urbanite Runway spoke with Jared Yazzie, the Owner of OXDX Clothing about his brand and his recent announcement as one of the FABRIC Building and City of Tempe Government’s Fashion Design Scholarship recipients.
UR: How did OXDX Clothing start?
JY: I started back in 2009. I was going to school at the University of Arizona. I had a full engineering scholarship and was trying to be an engineer at the time, but it didn’t really work out for me. I was doing a lot of art on the side and creating hand painted t-shirt designs, so I really utilized a lot of what was around me. The fabric came from Walmart and random tees that I could find and I was able to make shirts out of them and found out that that’s what I like to do. So I found a group of friends that believed in me enough to charge me $25 apiece for a tee design. I found about three or so friends that did that, which funded my first round of shirts and was enough to fund the next round. From those shirts, I could sell them out and get more printed and sell those out and get more printed. From there, I created lines and I’ve been doing that for about eight years.
UR: What is the mission of OXDX Clothing?
JY: We’re definitely trying to bring awareness to Native American issues. There’s a lot going on with Native Americans that the public is pretty blind about. So, we’re trying to bring that to the front and make it more popular and make more conversations get started thorough graphic art.
UR: What are some examples of those Native American issues?
JY: Currently, we have a “Water is Life” design, talking about the water rights that we have to deal with on the Navajo reservation, we have a lot of stereotype imagery or how Native people are viewed in popular media, sports mascots, and that type of thing. There’s also a lot of missing and murdered Indigenous Native American women that people are dealing with. It’s specifically a Canadian movement, but those are probably happening everywhere.
UR: Why is it important to highlight the problems faced by Native Americans, as well as highlighting their art and culture, particularly in the medium of fashion?
JY: We’re just underrepresented and I think that Native people are originally fashionable people. We utilize a lot of what’s around us to create workable pieces of art that are durable and used in everyday life, so I think we’re kind of the originators of that. It comes easy for us, and the designs that you see across different nations and tribes is beautiful and it should be shared.
UR: You recently had a piece commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, what have you taken away from that success?
JY: That was a big job. It was interesting work to do. They turned down a couple of my first proposed images. I was getting to work with that kind of rejection, I was really up under the gun and since it was a big opportunity, I didn’t want to mess it up. But it was so worth it to spend a lot of time to try to think of the right thing and I’m totally happy with their decision of my design and illustrations. It was another audience and it was a good collaborative work between us and the museum and now it’s something that can be seen throughout New York. People from the city can actually own it and carry a piece of it home with them and that’s super special to me, that my art can reach all the way to the other side of the states.
UR: FABRIC recently announced a scholarship design program in accordance with the City of Tempe Government featuring you and two other local brands. Tell us about the process of how you found out about the scholarship and it’s opportunities.
JY: OXDX has many different hats. I do a lot of speaking things, I do a lot of design work for clients, I do print work, like imprints and stuff, so it’s pretty weighted and I usually need help. One of those helpers is a friend of mine named Brittany Gene. Brittany’s been going to school at Mesa Community College for fashion. She took a class where they toured FABRIC and they found out everything about it and she saw that there was a scholarship and brought that up to me. She asked…well she didn’t even ask…she said, “You should do this. We should do this.” We had to submit an application and we did a video, which wasn’t the hardest thing to do because we’ve been creating content for years, so we have a lot of video footage on hand of fashion shows and us working. That helped us a lot. We really went out on a whim for it. I trusted her judgement and she knew we could get it, so she kind of pulled that in for us.
UR: What are your goals for the brand in terms of the resources and space provided from the FABRIC scholarship?
JY: OXDX has always been a streetwear label. We’ve always specialized in t-shirt graphics and graphic design in general, but since we’ve started getting into a lot of fashion shows and creating more one of a kind pieces, we’ve noticed that we found a real passion for it and a real hope and need for people to express themselves that way. We’d like to go into cut and sew to create patterns to sew original work. I don’t know too much about it, I am really taking this line to learn this side of the fashion business, because I’ve been doing screen printing for years. I worked at a high volume screen printing place for three or so years and I’ve been the Art Director there for a few years. I’m taking the time to understand that portion of it and that’s just another avenue that I want to get my expertise up in. It’s been a real learning experience. We’ll use the heck out of anything that you give us, because we’ve used the heck out of anything we’ve been given these days, and that’s not much. I’m really excited to just have this next fall line, because we release stuff every fall. This next fall line is really going to come heavy with original cut and sew products and original made patterns, so that’s what we’re going to be focused on for September.
UR: Where would you like to see the brand ultimately go?
JY: I definitely would want OXDX to hit a main market. Something that you’d see in streetwear boutiques and really big brands like Born X Raised, The Hundreds and Staple. Those are brands that you see in L.A., those are brands that you see in New York. Any kind of visibility we can get within that culture to show people that Native people can step up, because I don’t think there’s been a Native brand to take that kind of direction with their artwork. We really want that visibility within the streetwear scene and fashion in general. It doesn’t have to be streetwear, we’re kind of our own thing. It’s pretty indescribable what we do, so I want to create something new.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.