The Portland, Ore.–based label, the only Native American–owned denim brand in the world, is getting an influx of $500,000 from Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, a Canadian Indigenous-led and -owned impact investment firm out of Vancouver that supports Native entrepreneurship.
Then-newlyweds Amanda Bruegl, who is of Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee descent, and Erik Brodt of the Ojibwe tribe, began Ginew in 2010 as a small leather goods brand after they jointly crafted a series of belts from their wedding buffalo, which was hunted, prepared, tanned and hand-dyed by the pair and their families. They expanded the offering to include apparel in 2014.
Ginew, which means “brown eagle,” is now a contemporary collection of Native Americana sold worldwide at specialty retailers and online that draws inspiration from the proprietors’ culture, including the incorporation of family symbols and teachings into the garments and goods. Collection highlights include Made in America selvedge denim, wax canvas and artist-designed shirts. Its three jeans styles range in price from $235-$268 while denim jackets are $305-$385.
“I felt pride when I first experienced the Ginew brand and the garment collection. It reflects Indigenous excellence at a scale I haven’t seen in the market. This led us on a journey to learn about this family business and their vision to revitalize the Indigenous economy,” said Jacqueline Jennings, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners venture partner. “We are excited to support Ginew as it scales its collection, increases its international presence and transforms Native participation in the apparel industry.”
The investment will help Ginew pursue initiatives that include transforming Native representation in the apparel business, nurturing a culture-centric business approach and developing a healthy Native economy, among other goals.
“Ginew is a very personal brand. We incorporate our Ojibwe, Oneida and Stockbridge-Munsee heritage and family stories into our collection. Raven and Ginew are very compatible culturally which is very important to us as we look to accelerate Native opportunities. One of our first priorities is to thoughtfully expand our collection,” Bruegl said.
“We are very intentional about our supply chain and choosing collaborators that share our mission to bring positive social and economic outcomes. Amanda and I aim to transform the Native narrative in the apparel industry and we are grateful for Raven’s support,” Brodt added.