PHOENIX — Kenneth Shirley's dancing has taken him around the world. It's brought him face to face with Jennifer Lopez, put him on national TV and made him a part of a presidential inauguration.
Now, it's brought his Native American dance group, Indigenous Enterprise, to the most famous fashion source in the world.
"I'm just as surprised as you are anytime we get into these situations," Shirley said from a hotel in Los Angeles.
Shirley, a Navajo tribal member from Lupton, Arizona, teamed up with a Native-owned clothing company (Born X Raised) to produce a line of shirts and hoodies. It's not their first clothing release, but it is the first one that got them noticed by fashion's elite.
Scrolling through Twitter, a story about Shirley's clothes appears right above a story about Kim Kardashian, written by the staff of Vogue magazine.
The story stands out, not only because it's about a group of Native Americans in fashion and dance, but also for the models wearing their clothes: Native American elders.
"First person to come to my mind was, I gotta use my grandma," Shirley said.
The idea was to honor their Native elders, the people who are responsible for their being here, and the people responsible for their Native pride, Shirley said.
So there is Shirley's Navajo grandmother, Nellie, in her 90's, wearing a Born X Raised shirt, wrapped in a Pendleton blanket...on the same website where supermodels wear couture.
"We love our indigenous culture, I love my grandma, I love where we're from," Shirley said.
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