Cree designer signs deal with American streetwear chain Zumiez

Dusty LeGrande's brand Mobilize will be in stores in Canada, U.S. in spring 2021

Dusty LeGrande had a goal in the new year: to pitch his clothing line to Zumiez, a chain skate shop with stores all across the world.

Little did he know, Zumiez would find him first.

 

Mobilize, his streetwear brand based in Edmonton, will launch in Zumiez stores in the coming spring. 

The Cree designer from Wabasca, Alta., said he and Zumiez reached an agreement after someone from the company saw his brand on a viral TikTok video and looked him up.

"To have the representation on a big scale like that, somebody that's in most of the major malls as a way just to be there for when those Indigenous youth walk through the doors … it's really cool," he said.

The clothing line is expected to be in around 50 stores to start. (Submitted by Dusty LeGrande)

Mobilize started on a trip to Hawaii, where he saw Native Hawaiians take iconic logos like Air Jordan and indigenize them. Right then, he said he felt what representation meant — and as a youth worker in Edmonton, he wanted the next generation of Indigenous youth to feel that, too.

Back home, with two kids and a third on the way, he started an Instagram page to see if there was an appetite for what he was hoping to start. The first sweater he put out, one that honoured the Indigenous matriarch, sold out quickly. He said it was then that he knew he was onto something.

The designer says he hopes Mobilize will help inspire youth and let them see themselves represented in stores like Zumiez. (Submitted by Dusty LeGrande)

"It was a way to share these stories that I had been taught, these concepts with all people," he said.

His business is still mostly through Instagram, but that's about to change in the spring. He said Zumiez plans to sell Mobilize in 50 of their stores.

 

He said he hopes to then push some of his more original designs to fashion weeks around the world, like in New York and London, to bring his story to different and larger audiences. 

He's also ready to launch his second scholarship for Indigenous designers, and said he hopes to open a studio space for designers and artists to collaborate.

"For me, it's also about building the community and kind of introducing Edmonton and this conservative province of Alberta to what Indigenous culture is all about and the diversity of beauty that exists within it," he said. 

"There's still a lot of work to do here at home."

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