Fashion & Style

4Kinship’s Amy Denet Deal On How Her Diné Tribe Influences Her Designs

Photography by Dillon Sachs

The designer turns to her Indigenous roots — and her daughter — for guidance and inspiration.

Parachute bubble skirts, tie-dyed jumpsuits and colourfully collaged clothing are just a few examples of the whimsical wares you’ll find on 4Kinship’s website. Another common thread? The appearance of Indigenous founder Amy Denet Deal’s daughter, Lily, who models almost all of her mother’s masterpieces. “We have a very special relationship,” shares Denet Deal, revealing that Lily inspired her to give up her fast-fashion job and start her sustainable brand. “When she was still little, I spent so much time teaching her how to be a conscious human and live a sustainable life,” says Denet Deal. “So it seemed completely inauthentic to work at a corporation actively damaging the earth. I needed to be a better mom and live by example.”

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Shortly after the kickoff of 4Kinship (initially named Orenda Tribe), the duo moved from L.A. to New Mexico to reconnect with their Diné tribe, and the brand took full form from there. Fuelled by her desire to honour her heritage, Denet Deal infuses her Indigenous ethos into all aspects of her work, from collaborating with different artisans in her community to using sustainable practices like upcycling, hand-weaving and hand-dying vintage materials. “Indigenous peoples have always lived in harmony with the land, and we’ve always considered our impact on it,” shares Denet Deal. “At 4Kinship, we continue the ancestral practice by reflecting that balance and harmony in our garments. We want people to see the clear connection to the land that goes into every piece.”

Here, Denet Deal dives deeper into her Diné culture and why her daughter is her forever muse.

How Dinétah inspires Denet Deal

Photography courtesy of 4Kinship

“Dinétah is the traditional homeland of the Diné tribe. I’m inspired by everything that surrounds me here in the Southwest — the clouds, the sky, the mountains, the land — which led me back to New Mexico and my roots.”

The impact of Jeffrey Gibson’s art

Photography courtesy of 4Kinship

“American Mississippi Choctaw-Cherokee contemporary artist Jeffrey Gibson’s work has changed my life. He’s a Native American who did not grow up in a Native community but has created his own space of belonging through his work. I relate to his pieces and story on all levels.”

On her love of flight suits

Photography by Shaun Price

“I love utilitarian and gender-free clothing, so I live in upcycled vintage military flight suits. At 4Kinship, we invite many of these old souls back into our world and infuse them with the earth’s and sky’s colours using our hand dyes.”

The importance of community at 4Kinship House

Photography by Charles Montaya

4Kinship House allows us to represent ourselves and encourage Indigenous creativity to flourish. We burn cedar every morning as we start the day, set intentions and constantly change the rhythm of each room.”

Why her daughter Lily is Denet Deal’s ultimate muse

Photography courtesy of 4Kinship

“Lily’s why I started 4Kinship — to set an example for my child on how a brand could honour our Indigeneity. We’ve grown together on our path toward sustainable fashion. She guides not only my aesthetic but also my life.”

This article first appeared in FASHION’s April 2023 issue. Find out more here.