OXDX was a brand born on a passion to create a voice for the unheard.
I’m making that sound epic AF on purpose. In reality OXDX was born on wild decisions (mom would call them “stupid decisions"), no sleep (because creativity only thrives when every living thing has gone to bed), and money managing (“If I find 12 more cents, I can put in $5 of gas and still have enough change for a thirstbuster!”).
OXDX waddled through its toddler days hustling at the rez flea markets…
….and taking chances.
Like the time I drove to San Diego on my last dollar to sell at a Native youth event – I needed to come out on top just to get back home.
Or the time I agreed to print 300, 4 color, tees after a full day of work. I clocked out at 9:30 pm and started printing at 10 pm all the way until 6 am the next morning.
OXDX would not be what its grown to be without these stories.
What goes unseen are those little things that helped me in the biggest way.
The first time I sold at the Window Rock flea market I was so scared. I was scolded by elders, random people would walk by and scoff at the art on my tees… it was such a gut punch to my pride.
I got through that.
I got through that first time selling because one of my good friends from high school stood at the booth with me. He supported my product and took the verbal abuse with me.
We sold two tees that day.
The day I slaved over 300 tees, my cousin was in the garage sweating it out with me. He wasn’t much help actually pulling ink but he talked with me and kept me from slowing down.
That paycheck bought us breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
I’m using this blog post to talk about another person who has helped me shape my vision for the past two years. I want to dedicate this post to Hannah Manuelito.
I want to start off by telling you that Hannah is hilarious on snapchat. Don't get me wrong she's hilarious in person too but, damn, doesn't she take center stage on SC. I'm talking car karaoke, late night dance sessions, dramatic zooming on her face when she's telling an awkward story - its like watching Parks and Rec with a little 30 Rock mixed in. Being this person of many talents I also noticed that her make up was super on point! I know as much as any guy would know about make up, but even I could tell she was killllllllllllin it.
Then, an opportunity presented itself. I was contacted by Refinery29 to take part in a video being created about Navajo fashion. I needed to find my own models and have them ready for a video shoot to be shot in the beautiful Sedona red rocks. I had two days preparation for this opportunity.
I pulled together models and created special looks, everything was going smooth - but I still needed a make up artist. I took to snapchat and asked if Hannah wanted the opportunity. Granted, I undersold the hell out of this project's importance. When I explained to Hannah that it was for Refinery29 she had a reaction of pure panic - but when it came down to it, she showed up and did the job beautifully!
You can peep that video HERE. Here are a few photos from that day as well.
Hannah became our go-to girl for make up.
It's not just that Hannah creates amazing fashion looks for my models, she's a blast to kick it with. Here is some of Hannah's work from our "Save What We Have Left" Fall fashion shoot weekend in my childhood home in Holbrook, AZ.
Hannah's make up artistry was that final bow tied on the end of each look to create something truly unique. She knew how the light would hit it and what colors would bring out details in my designs. I learned she honed these skills from her years going to school for photography.
It was like like a season of Dragon Ball Z, this wasn't even Hannah's final form...
Hannah is a photographer.
And a pretty damn good one.
Here is her project titled "City Girl". I asked her a few questions about it:
JY: "I know you have a few projects that you've worked on, can you tell us about "City Girl". Where did this idea come from?"
HM: "I was walking around in my home town (Ganado) with my sister and we went to Conoco. I wasn’t glammed up at all, but when I walked in I heard the cashier scoff and say, “Ugh… city girls”. It was a simple statement but it really resonated with me. Since that moment I had the idea - if you want to see a city girl I’ll give you a city girl!"
*Taking selfies in the cornfield is one of my faves.
JY: Who are your top 3 favorite photographers?
HM: "Richard Avedon!" (said in .000001 seconds)
HM: "Nadia Sablin"
HM: "... and Lonnie Yazzie!"
You may recognize Lonnie if you follow Hannah on most of her social media accounts. Lonnie is Hannah's good friend and also super talented with his photography as well. You can view some of his work HERE.
JY: "Another photo series I love of your's is your untitled final project. Can you talk about it a little?"
HM: "My final project was made up of 11 - 12 images of different native people from different tribes. Using alternative process (something other than digital photography or other than traditional black and white). I used the Van Dyke Brown Method to imitate Edward Curtis images asthetically.
I feel people praise Edward Curtis and his images of capturing native people historically but realistically those images weren’t correct. There is even mixed opinions among my professors about Curtis’s work. I find myself explaining to everyone about it but really I could just show it thru my work."
JY: "How did you pick your subjects?"
HM: "It was mainly friends and family I knew haha, I definitely wanted to shoot so much more, but people like you and Shaina and BG, you guys have a special aspect about your stories that I wanted to tell. It took me about a week to photograph everyone, and then it took another week to print."
HM: "Interacting with people was my favorite part of the whole process. And you can see each person's personality thru each photo."
JY: Where does make up fit in everything you are doing?
"Make up fits in with my identity. I feel more myself when I’m in make up and living in color."
I think it's easy to see that Hannah Manuelito is a force to be reckoned with. I thank Hannah for her support and helping me create my vision that is OXDX. I hope my story somehow has, and is, helping her on her journey.
You can follow Hannah on IG (@itshannahduhhhhh).
Hannah is graduating this spring from Arizona State University with a bachelors in Fine Art Photography. If you would like to see her work in person, I strongly suggest checking out her senior art exhibit TOMORROW (February 7th) from 6pm - 8pm at:
ASU Gallery 100
951 S Mill Ave
Tempe, AZ 85287
All the info you need is HERE.
Extra points if you come in an OXDX tee :)
JY: "And lastly... If you were in a pageant, what would your special talent be?"
HM: "I would lip sync to Nicki Minaj's 'Moment For Life'" *praise hand emoji
TMBLWDS is the blog machine of OXDX founder, Jared Yazzie, and crew. Check out TMBLWDS for behind the scenes action. MUSIC. FOOD. TRAVEL. STUFF.