College Diné Students Design T-Shirts For Retailer Hot Topic

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FARMINGTON РHot Topic, the retail destination for pop culture and music merchandise, is selling t-shirts online this month featuring graphic designs created by students at Din̩ College

The collaboration is part of the retail chain’s ‘T-shirts that tell stories’ campaign. Net proceeds from t-shirt sales will go to the Tribal College until November 30.

In addition, the Hot Topic Foundation will provide a grant of $ 50,000 to Collège Diné to fund scholarships for future students.

All four T-shirts are available on the Hot topics website under the banner “t-shirts that tell stories”.

Graphic design students Aiyana Gatewood, Karl Pinto, Edwina Redsteer and Troy Tso had their designs selected by Hot Topic, a press release from Diné College States.

“Diné College appreciates the partnership with the Hot Topic Foundation and their efforts to provide students with the opportunity to obtain a quality education at a tribal college,” the statement said.

Hot Topic did not respond to questions about the collaboration.

Matthew Bollinger is a fine arts professor on the college’s main campus in Tsaile, Arizona.

Bollinger explained that Hot Topic has contacted the college about the possibility for students to design t-shirts that recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.

In recent years, several cities and states have accepted Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day on the second Monday in October. This year, President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day to celebrate the contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples.

The t-shirts are sold in November because it is Native American Heritage Month.

This screenshot shows the banner on the Hot Topic website that links to the T-shirts designed by four college students from Diné.

Bollinger said the project gave students a real-world experience by showcasing their designs to Hot Topic and developing communication with company employees throughout the process.

They also gained confidence as designers, he added.

“It was definitely a real world circumstance that gave them a taste of what to expect after graduation,” he said.

He added that Tso will become the first student to earn a bachelor’s degree in graphic design in December. The graphic design program is offered entirely online.

“I think it’s successful. The t-shirt designs are gorgeous,” Bollinger said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for the Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at [email protected].

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