August 25, 2012

Weekend Project: NDN Tees Make-Over

I have a confession to make. I despise t-shirts.

I mean, I love them on other people, just not on me. There's something about them - when I wear a t-shirt I feel like I'm being suffocated. I constantly pull at the neckline and adjust the midsection, and I begin to feel like I can't breathe.

Clearly, I have a problem. This isn't how a normal person acts in a t-shirt.

And what's worse is the fact that a lot of cool Native movements or companies rely on t-shirts to convey their messages.

There are tons and tons of mega-cool ndn t-shirts out there with great imagery. In fact, t-shirts are like our billboards - walking signs telling people about our affiliations, our humor, our style. T-shirts are rather important message bearers.

Ok, so what do you do if you're like me and can't handle the standard tee? Well, you cut it up, of course.

I just recently came across this site, which lists several ideas for transforming a simple tee into anything from a halter top to a sexy dress. I'm not that ambitious to turn a tee into a quilt, but I have already used this how-to video (below) to revamp my t-shirt that was designed by Cherokee tattoo artist John Henry Gloyne for Navajo weaver Melissa Cody (see above and right). The video teaches you how to transform a t-shirt into a open-neck off-the-shoulder comfy top (and if you've ever been to the Turtle Mountains, you know we love our exposed shoulder tops. I'm lookin' at you Corelle Allery).

Here's why this is important: lots of Native American grassroots artists, companies, and movements need us to wear this stuff on our bodies. It's hard to compete with huge corporate advertising, so we have to do it on the ground level. And we need you to look stylish while you rock the message. So get out your scissors this weekend and rock out:

Click here for more tee-cutting ideas, and feel free to post your favorite t-shirt transformation how-to video or website in the comments section below.