While Made in USA denim has cache both domestically and abroad, Ginew wants to shine a light on specific creators within the denim market. In this case, Native Americans.
Established in 2010 by husband-and-wife team Amanda Bruegl and Erik Brodt, Ginew is a Native American-owned denim and apparel brand that pays tribute to the founders’ heritages (Ojibwe and Oneida) and way of life. The Portland, Ore.-based designers cull inspiration from tribal customs, motorcycle culture and Americana workwear for their line of authentic and durable apparel, denim and accessories.
Ginew’s products tell a greater story about Native American culture. Each item incorporates colorways, symbols and textiles that are significant to historical and contemporary context. The designers say the brand has been a “natural progression of our creative process to offer a contemporary, Native American voice in clothing.” And in some aspects, the garments provide a tactile element to the oral histories of their families.
Signature items include the Heritage coat ($595) a White Oak selvedge jacket lined with wool blanket lining woven exclusively for Ginew by Pendleton, the engraved dress belt ($395) made with 11 oz. Herman Oak bridle leather and the Crow Wing jean ($235) with custom Ginew hardware and hunted deer leather patch. The jeans are adorned with the Oneida skydome and Ojibwe lodge symbols on the interior pockets.
“Jeans and denim jackets are iconic in Native style,” the designers said. “As we launch more jeans, it is refreshing to see the response we are experiencing. People who are invested and interested in the authentic story of the clothing seem to be increasing, or perhaps these customers are starting to find us.”
The Thunderbird serves as the inspiration for the Fall ’18 collection, consisting of bandanas, jeans, jackets and tees. The Thunderbird coat and jacket feature hunted deerskin collars and a hidden Thunderbird that is chain stitched into the cuff by Fort Lonesome, an Austin, Texas-based custom embroidery company.
Ginew does not make products in bulk, rather it produces a few items at a time with the resources available, adopting a more circular mindset. “We design items for ourselves—items that we will wear on a daily basis and items that tell our personal story,” Brodt said.
The brand caters to curated boutiques and customers that Brodt describes as “extremely conscious of quality, sustainability, and ethos in a garment.” He added, “Our customers care about the soul of the garment and the authentic story which goes into each piece.”