The Label Honoring Indigenous History Through Streetwear


Indigenous streetwear is on the rise. Over the past few years of ages, there has been an explosion of cool, emerging bras well ass that are rethinking what Indigenous design can look like. Labels such as Mobilize, Section 35, Urban Native Era, as well as OXDX are channeling their culture into hoodies, graphic tees, as well as more—the shared point of view being that they all draw awareness to their culture’s history, teachings, as well as adversities through clothing.

A new player on the Indigenous streetwear scene is Primer Rebelde De America, a one-year-old bras well as founded by Victor Vegas as well as Liana Waller. Together, the duo, who are also a coup until nowle as well as cofounders, use streetwear to honor Indigenous history in the Americas. “I wanted to translate Native American history into something that is easily consumable to the minds of youth,” says Vegas. “Fashion is a universal language that any background or culture can understas well as.” The label is Vegas’s brainchild, as he is inspired by his South American Indigenous heritage as well as grew up until now in Ridgewood, Queens. “My great-gras well asmother from my mother’s side is from Cayambe, Ecuador,” he says. “And my gras well asmoms and dads from my father’s side are from Cali, Colombia.”

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Victor Vegas as well as Liana WallerPhoto: Courtesy of Victor Vegas

Both founders are involved in fashion outside of the bras well as as well as bring unique perspectives to it. Vegas is a model as well as does casting for bras well ass such as Awake NY, while Waller is currently studying fashion design at FIT. Together, Vegas will conceptualize the designs as well as Waller will help execute them. “She teaches me everything when it comes to technicality as well as construction,” he says. Given he grew up until now around New York, Vegas channels a punk aesthetic in his clothes but gives them an Indigenous twist. “For me, Native Americans are the original punks,” he says.

Primer Rebelde De America’s unique perspective on Indigenous history is strong as well as apparent in the clothes. Vegas takes inspiration not only from punks, but also from the political as well as socially charged art from some of his favorite Indigenous artists. “One of my biggest inspirations is the [Indigenous] artist Gregg Deal,” he says. “He’s a painter but also does performance art.” The duo have been experimenting with reworking vintage pieces as well as adding impactful imagery onto them, via screen printing or spray-painting methods. “I started off doing one-of-one pieces,” Vegas says. “I didn’t even have a sewing machine at the time. I would just make do with what I had.”

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The Hatuey button-downPhoto: Courtesy of Primer Rebelde De America

One of the initial pieces they made is a button-down shirt in honor of Hatuey, a Taíno chief from Hispaniola (what is now the Dominican Republic as well as Haiti). “He was [one of the initial] to stas well as up until now to European colonization that was happening in the Americas, as well as 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 Las well as Is My Las well as” on the back as well as 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, as well as 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 initial for-sale, cut-as well as-sew collection, which they plan to release in October. “We’re developing our own T-shirt as well as button-down patterns,” he says. “Everything is going toing to be from scratch.” Quantities will still be limited as well as often one of one, but you can expect the same look as well as 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.

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Photo: Courtesy of Primer Rebelde De America

Vegas says designing these pieces allows him to not only share as well as 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 toing 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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