Across the nation, graduating students are currently partaking in their school’s commencement ceremonies (either virtually or with social distancing measures in place). As graduates continue receiving their diplomas through the end of the month, Urban Native Era, an indigenous streetwear brand, wanted to use its platform to highlight the many native students who are also earning their degrees. To do so, the label just released a new T-shirt drop in their honor.
Urban Native Era’s new tee, which retails for $15, bears the logo “Indigenous Class of 2020.” It was designed by the brand as a way for indigenous youth to proudly display their end-of-year achievements. “I’m really glad that we’re able to recognize their accomplishments,” says its founder Joey Montoya. “It’s been great to see them rocking it.” The first shipment of tees went out last week, and many indigenous graduates have been sporting them and posting them on their Instagram page or on the Virtual Indigenous Commencement Facebook page, which serves as an online meeting place where indigenous students can share photos and celebrate one another.
Many students have been wearing the graphic tee with their traditional regalia, such as ribbon skirts or beaded medallion necklaces, to mark the milestone. “I love it when people wear our apparel with a mix of traditional and nontraditional stuff,” says Montoya. Others have worn it with the traditional graduation gown and cap.
Proceeds from tees are going to a good cause too, which only amplifies the feel-good nature of the product. The profits are being donated directly to the American Indian Graduate Center, an organization that supports native youth wishing to further their education. “They do really good work with securing scholarships for native folks,” says Montoya.
Coming up on June 21, the brand will also be releasing a new tee to celebrate national Indigenous Peoples Day. It reads, “Indigenous Peoples Day Is Every Day.”