Paul Frank teams up with Native American artists

Associated Press + More

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Paul Frank Industries, famous for putting Julius the monkey on everything from T-shirts to bicycles, has teamed up with four Native American artists and designers.

The result has been a special collection of Native-inspired merchandise that's being unveiled Friday at the Contemporary Museum of Native Arts in Santa Fe.

The collaboration was sparked after the company made a marketing misstep last year by hosting a neon powwow in Los Angeles. Within 24 hours, the backlash was in full swing.

Company officials say they soon learned it was a bigger issue because Native American imagery and cultural references had been appropriated by businesses and industries over generations.

Saban Brands President Elie Dekel says he hopes the collaboration can serve as a template for how manufacturers can be more thoughtful.

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