One of the first pieces they made is a button-down shirt in honor of Hatuey, a Taíno chief from Hispaniola (what is now the Dominican Republic and Haiti). “He was [one of the first] to stand up to European colonization that was happening in the Americas, and he led a fight against Christopher Columbus,” says Vegas. Many of the label’s pieces are equally thought-provoking, including a plaid shirt that reads “This Land Is My Land” on the back and a button-down reading “Genocide,” finished in a deliberately white-washed bleach treatment. Another button-down even features an Indigenous twist on America’s four founding fathers, illustrated with photos of four Indigenous leaders, Red Cloud, Geronimo, Chief Joseph, and Sitting Bull instead.

Despite a flood of DM inquiries for their pieces thus far, the clothes aren’t for sale just yet. They consider them more to be prototypes, as they are currently working on producing their first for-sale, cut-and-sew collection, which they plan to release in October. “We’re developing our own T-shirt and button-down patterns,” he says. “Everything is going to be from scratch.” Quantities will still be limited and often one of one, but you can expect the same look and motifs to be present. “Since it is rooted in the history of the Americas, I really want to be precise in what I [show],” he says.

Photo: Courtesy of Primer Rebelde De America

Vegas says designing these pieces allows him to not only share and educate around his community, but also bring representation to an industry that often excludes Indigenous people. “For a long time I wasn’t even aware of my own culture,” he says. “Indigenous people are often used as props.” He also sees power in how fashion can help change this. “I could preach all day about Indigenous culture, but nobody’s going to listen,” Vegas says. “But if it’s on a cool button-down or T-shirt, that’s an invitation to the viewer.”

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