September 14, 2010

Designer Profile | Dustin Martin

Dustin Martin (Navajo) has been making headlines recently as the Columbia University senior majoring in Anthropology who creates Native American streetwear.

Martin reworks clothing from thrift stores – adding silkscreened designs infused with messages that reflect his clothing line S.O.L.O. (Sovereign Original Land Owners).

He sees fashion, an unconventional medium for Native art, as a means to overturn preconceived notions about Indigenous culture.

The college senior envisions his clothing as a potential forum to connect Native heritage, mass media, and the Ivory Tower. He said, “So much of the brand is intellectual. I want it to be a dialogue about articulating culture and design in a way that people have to look at a second time. I’m not trying to preach, but I want there to be some learning involved.”

Martin believes that art and fashion are more useful than academics when it comes to his goal of discrediting misconceptions about Native Americans. He explained, “I could write anthropological articles my whole life, but I would still be heard and read by a small community of academics,” he says. “The same ideas can be articulated in a way that is not necessarily scholarly. I see Native art and clothes as a perfect medium for the message I want to convey.”

Read more about Dustin Martin by clicking the links below:
Columbia College Student Spotlight, September/October 2010

Hoot Magazine, Spring/Summer 2010 (pages 17-19)

Indigo Design Network