Paul Frank teams up with Native American artists

SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press
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Image provided by Paul Frank Industries Inc. shows a series of T-shirts designed by Dustin Martin, a member of the Navajo Nation. Paul Frank collaborated with Martin and three other Native American artists and designers to create a new collection that was unveiled Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at the SWAIA Indian Market in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Paul Frank Industries Inc.)

Image provided by Paul Frank Industries Inc. shows a series of T-shirts designed by Dustin Martin, a member of the Navajo Nation. Paul Frank collaborated with Martin and three other Native American artists and designers to create a new collection that was unveiled Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at the SWAIA Indian Market in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Paul Frank Industries Inc.)

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 Museum of Contemporary 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.

Image provided by Paul Frank Industries Inc. shows beaded sunglasses designed by artist Candace Halcro, a member of the Plains Cree and Metis Aboriginal tribes. Paul Frank collaborated with Halcro and three other Native American artists and designers to create a new collection that was unveiled Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at the SWAIA Indian Market in Santa Fe, N.M.  (AP Photo/Paul Frank Industries Inc.)

Image provided by Paul Frank Industries Inc. shows beaded sunglasses designed by artist Candace Halcro, a member of the Plains Cree and Metis Aboriginal tribes. Paul Frank collaborated with Halcro and three other Native American artists and designers to create a new collection that was unveiled Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at the SWAIA Indian Market in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Paul Frank Industries Inc.)

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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