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Nativen is an American heritage workwear brand, for hands-on women with know how. 

From our curated collection of vintage pieces to our thoughtfully crafted USA-made workwear,  we are passionate about providing you with the kind of products you will love to live and work in.

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Filtering by Tag: desert and denim

The Ladies of Desert & Denim - Amy Leverton: Denim Dudette

Lily Hetzler

A tour de force, and seemingly endless fountain of energy, Amy is the kinda woman to bring excitement to any room she steps into.  She strikes the perfect balance between child-like spontaneity, and a confident command that could stop a snake in it's path.  As the founder of Denim Dudes, and Dudettes, she's got more than a decade and a half of blue jean expertise under her belt.  On our latest jaunt to the dusty town of Joshua Tree we chatted with her about rock icons and leading ladies. Hope you enjoy her charm, as much as we did...

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Amy:    My name is Amy Leverton, and I am a denim consultant and forecaster, and the author of two books Denim Dudes and Dudettes. 

Nativen:    What is your favorite stress relieving hobby? 

Amy:    Oh, wow. What am I going to say? Hiking, mate…  I was going to say my ultimate night in is pinning shit on Pinterest and watching inane Netflix stuff.
But actually properly relaxing, or if I'm upset, or down, or stressed, getting up on that hill. It really helps. I grew up in the countryside, and that's why I love LA, because I live in the city but I can get into the countryside. If you're in a good mood, it’ll make you ecstatic. If you're in a bad mood, you come back happy. 

Nativen:    Yeah, it's a total brain cleaner. It's the best. 
Who's the woman who's inspired you the most? 

Amy:    Well, I mean, there's lots of people. Of course, I'm close to my mom, and there's a lot of things that I've inherited from her that are good qualities. But in the denim industry, I think I'd have to say someone like Lynn Downey, who is the head of the Levi's archive, because she's come at denim from another point of view, from and archivist and historian point of view. We, the denim industry, just owe her a lot for putting all that together. Because obviously, Levi's holds a lot of history. She's just retired now. 
But I guess as a woman, and I'm getting older now, as well, it's just really wonderful seeing a badass woman in the industry who everyone reveres and everyone looks up to. She told me a story once. She was in Tokyo and she walked into a vintage store. She was just minding her own business. This guy looks up and goes, "Oh, Lynn Downey san." She was like, "That's the best thing." In Tokyo, of course, they think denim is the bee's knees. That would never happen anywhere else. Just that story and the fact that she got to this status, because of just knowing a lot about denim and the history of Levi's is really cool. 

Nativen:    That's a great one. 
Three women you'd love to sit around the campfire with, dead or alive. 

Amy:    I know many women will choose suffragettes, activists and very serious ladies but this is a campfire, right? I honestly can't think of anything worse than feeling totally out of my depth trying to sound intellectual and hold conversation with someone far superior than me. So I would go for women I know are going to entertain me, keep it real and teach me about life. I want women around me who I can connect with on their level.
For that reason, first up I'm going with Whoopie Goldburg! My first memory of Whoopie was in The Color Purple which I think totally destroyed me! But she's just badass and maternal and I can imagine her getting us all screaming with laughter too. Just a firecracker of a lady. My other thought would be Joanna Lumley for similar reasons but there's something incredibly 'overflowing' about Whoopie that I just love. 
Barbara Kruger is an amazing artist but she's self-depreciating, down to earth and straight talking. She's not my favourite artist (although obviously I do love her) but in my work in trend forecasting, her themes just speak to me SO strongly that I think I'd just hang on her every word. She talks about feminism, sexism, consumerism, hype... everything thats so relevant to today's culture and she'd just add a badass touch to the campfire vibes.
I love books and I adore the amazingly repressed passion throughout British history! I am totally obsessed with the Tudors but I would be waaay too scared to sit beside Queen Elizabeth 1st so my historical gal pal would be Jane Austin. To write what she wrote in her lifetime, I feel like she would have this incredibly romantic character and a million boy stories. My dating style is way more suited to the 18th Century so we'd have a lot to talk about! She might be a bit too stuffy n shy though so if she's not gelling with the group can I just kick her out?
Ooh! In fact what about Stevie Nicks?! She's be amazing. So Jane Austin but if she's being a bore then lets get Stevie Nicks in, half pissed on a gin n tonic and that'll get us back on track!

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Nativen:    Quick words of wisdom to anyone who's looking to pursue their creative dream. Like a nugget of advice you would offer them. 

Amy:    Well, I think that ... This is a personal taste thing. I don't like people who get too into themselves and lose that child-like quality of exploration and open-mindedness. I just think it’s important to stay open-minded. If you don't like something, you run towards it and you try and find out why you don't like it, and maybe you can understand it better.  Rather than just being like, "I don't like that."
Also, I was given this advice by my ex-boss. She's a badass, and was the head of design at Donna Karan at 30 years old. Someone said to her "How are you at this point, at this time in your life?" She just looks at her and said, "Work twice as hard as everyone else." 

Nativen:    If you could spend a day in someone else's jeans, who would it be? 

Amy:    Oh. Probably like Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin in his really tight jeans in the '70s, or Bruce Springsteen on the album cover. The 501s. Yeah. 

Nativen:    Oh, 100%. Yes. 
Last question. Three things you can't live without. 

Amy:    Ooh. I should probably be more spiritual, but ... Sleep. I'm useless without sleep, and I don't get enough of it. At present, probably like everyone else, unfortunately, my iPhone, because I use Instagram and all that, so it's not very spiritual, but functional. 
I guess just people. Being surrounded by positive people or inspirational people. Just people make your world. 

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Interview by: Lily Hetzler

Photography by: Ashley Turner

This interview has been condensed & edited

all images copyright of Nativen

The Ladies of Desert & Denim - Susie Shaughnessy: Crawford Denim Vintage

Lily Hetzler

Susie has that kind of smile that's utterly contagious.  With a glint in her eye, that's half momma's girl charm, and half cheeky jokester.  Susie Shaughnessy is the founder of Crawford Denim and Vintage, a small batch denim brand and vintage shop that's all about community. On our most recent trip to the desert we sat down with Susie for a quick chat about the women who inspire her the most, and the things she can't live without.

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Susie:        My name is Susie Shaughnessy and I'm the owner and designer for Crawford Denim & Vintage.

Nativen:    What is your favorite stress relieving hobby?

Susie:    It might be dancing in the middle of my living room. When I'm super stressed out, Huey Lewis comes on... Anything bad 80s I really like to dance to.

Nativen:    Oh, now I'm gonna have to enlist that into my routine.

Susie:    Yeah, that's my guilty pleasure.

Nativen:    Who's the woman who's inspired you the most?

Susie:    Our mom. Yeah. She was a really great artist and was super fun. Always made everybody feel like they were part of the family and she threw great parties and was just super creative, but also super down to earth and ... That's who we looked up.

Nativen:    What a wonderful model.

Susie:    Yeah, she was really encouraging to a lot of people. Our dad is a football coach at a high school and for years they had kids live with him before they ever had any of us, so there's a whole entourage of men that are 10, 15 years older than we are that are our brothers that they actually fostered throughout school and college and everything.

Nativen:    Wow.

Susie:    When our mom passed away, it was hard for our whole community, not just our family, because she took care of a lot of people. We had no idea that she was paying for people's prom dresses, and making sure that they had school supplies and our parents had arranged for a bunch of scholarships for a lot of the students, because it was a private school, and they just made sure that anybody who wanted to go there could afford to. We're a family of five kids on one schoolteacher's salary and they just made a lot happen and it was all because of her. She just knew how to make everybody feel welcome.

Nativen:    How cool. I love that. Three women you would love to sit around the campfire with, dead or alive.

Susie:    Oh, I don't know, I have to think about that. Our old art teacher, Wendy Sussman. Maggie [Susie’s sister] was her TA in school, and she was from New york and always wore black and she had this crazy, curly hair. It was just so incredible to ... first she was really off-putting, and then by the end of your semester you just wanted more of her craziness. Seeing her face and really motivating you. But yeah, she was an incredible person, I want to know what she thinks of now. Oprah. I think she's just so fascinating. She's got such an interesting history and she just keeps on moving and creating something new, and different all the time. Trying to think of a third person. I think it would be Joan Jett.

Nativen:    Yeah! That's a really interesting combination too.

Susie:    That's kind of all three parts of me.

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Nativen:    Definitely sums it up for you. Okay, so words of wisdom or a nugget of advice that you'd offer to someone that's looking to pursue their creative career path?

Susie:    I think it's always good to have a balance in what you're doing. If you're only creative and don't know how to do the finances you're going to get in trouble later. Even if you don't do it yourself, you should know how to do it. Because I find that with a lot of creatives, both men and women, if they leave it to somebody else they end up losing their business. And I've watched a lot of friends who's brands are their names, lose their names. It's a shame, how you can lose your signature, to somebody else because you just didn't know how to protect your financial side. We're creative, you can come up with a million ideas and do a bunch of stuff and people are going to be influenced by you and take part of your ideas and you just need to know how to financially take care of yourself and make sure the books are taken care of, and all your permits are done. Because it would be terrible to lose your own identity and brand because you don't know that side of business.

Nativen:    Yeah, absolutely. If you could spend a day in someone else's jeans, who would it be?

Susie:    Ooh, I like that. I think it would be Bart Sights. I used to work with him a long time ago at Levi's, and I just think that man's a genius and their family is so incredible. I think what Bart's doing with Eureka is really fascinating. He's really making it look authentic, but still bringing in technology and moving the entire industry forward and trying to be sustainable with water and resources. That man's a genius.

Nativen:    Last question, three things you can't live without.

Susie:    Oh! That's easy. Salsa. It's just always in my refrigerator. We had this conversation, the three things that are always in your fridge. But also, coffee, and I think something to do. I never stop moving.

Nativen:    So, Salsa, coffee and a good project.

Susie:    Yeah, exactly.

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Interview by: Lily Hetzler

Photography by: Ashley Turner

This interview has been condensed & edited

all images copyright of Nativen

Susan Burnett: Mojave Sands

Lily Hetzler

If you ask anyone in Joshua Tree who Susan Burnett is, they will joyfully exclaim something along the lines of "oh... Sue B!"  Many call her the unofficial mayor of the small desert town, but Susan is much more than a community head.  A woman with a rich history, and a well-traveled soul, she is an endless well of incredible stories.  From her stylist days in NY and LA in the 80s and 90s to her pioneering motorcycle adventures with her ladies through the desert that lead her to her place at Mojave Sands, Sue makes friends everywhere she goes, and her impeccable style leaves a mark in your mind.  Though she may never claim it herself, it's easy to call Susan, the real queen of the desert.  
On a recent trip to Joshua Tree for the rowdy trade show cum music party, Desert & Denim, we sat down with Susan, to here her story, and how she maintains her luxe meets laissez faire lifestyle in a way that appears second nature.
Enjoy her journey with us, and visit the homepage to check out our latest editorial featuring Susan in some of our favorite new Vintage Selects pieces.

photos by Jac Potorke

photos by Jac Potorke

Nativen:    Where are you from?

Susan:    Originally from Texas. Born in Fort Worth. Grew up in Dallas and went to college in Austin.

Nativen:    Do you think Texas influenced your creative pursuits in any way?

Susan:    Oh well... I definitely think it influenced who I am and what I'm interested in.
And I guess even my creative pursuits to a certain degree, but I had to go somewhere else to really experience that, you know? When I was a teenager, maybe 14 or 15, I remember finding a box in the attic that had all these clothes from the 50's - my mom's stuff that she'd saved - and that was when I started wearing vintage, you know? But I wasn't “thrifting”. I grew up in kind of an affluent suburb in Dallas and you know, girls all wore the same thing, but I didn't wear any of that.

Nativen:    Ah. A stranger in your own land.

Susan:    I wore boys clothes, too, so Levis and white t-shirts were kind of my thing along with some of my mom's vintage. When I was 16 and 17 years old I worked at this clothing store in the mall called “Judy’s”. It was actually a California company. It was the cool store, where like, parachute pants were first sold. So, for Dallas, it was really kind of forward. 
When I was working there this lady would come in. She was actually a stylist, although I don't think she called herself that. But she pulled clothes for catalog work from the stores in the mall. So one day she just offered me a job. I didn't really have any idea what that was gonna be like but I just said, "Okay." And it's funny because I ended up doing that everywhere I went. 
People occasionally ask me, "What was it like being a stylist in the 80's and 90's? Did you set out to do that?" I’m like, “No! Never!" I had a little vintage clothing store that was just my own thing but I didn't do any styling work.
Then I went to San Francisco and did a video for a band, then another video, and then I moved to New York and I got some work there. The whole time I had other stuff going on but I just kept coming back to that until I ended up in LA eventually. 
I did all kinds of stuff. Music videos, commercials, I did a lot of print work for big magazines. It was crazy.

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Nativen:    It was a different time then because the “job stylist” wasn't something that officially existed then.

Susan:    That's true. But people ask me, “So, how did you get into it?" Well, I studied clothing design in college but you know, I'm so old that, at the University of Texas back then they only had a Home Economics Department and I wasn't into that! So I studied art and later transferred to the University of North Texas because they had a design school that was part of the Art Department. I studied there for 2 years then went back to Austin and finished my art degree there. They had this amazing collection of vintage clothes donated by wives of some really wealthy oil magnates from Dallas and Fort Worth. And I did the new acquisitions and repairs. So I got to see everything.

Nativen:    That's amazing.

Susan:    So in the early 80's I was seeing original Diors from the 50's, Balenciagas from the 60's so, you know, I learned a lot.

Nativen:    I'm sure! Well at that point you’re a historian. That must have been amazing!

Susan:    It was amazing.

Nativen:    So, from there, how did you land in Joshua Tree? Was there something that happened in your life that that was like, “get me outta here!”

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Susan:    Well, I would come out here sometimes for work. That's how I discovered it. And then in the mid ’90’s friends and I would ride bikes and go camping out here. Then I had a friend who moved here in the late 90's and I thought she was crazy. It was really different then - like scenes from “Breaking Bad”.

Nativen:    Yeah. That's the real deal right there.

Susan:    It's not like that anymore. It's all 30-something couples that buy their AirBnB and decorate it so they look like a Free People ad. 

Nativen:    So what do you love most about Joshua Tree?

Susan:    Well I like the geography. For sure. The wide open space. The big sky. It's hard to describe but it directly translates to your soul, kind of, immediately. You know what I'm saying? If you're open to it.

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Nativen:    Yeah. So was that the thing that caused you to be out here full time or was there a moment or an epiphany in your life where you're like, "I'm out"?

Susan:    Well, I just wanted to get away. I mean I've lived in a lot of places and I knew that I was at a certain age where if I stayed in LA I was gonna be stuck there. And doing what I did. And living that life. So I really just took a big leap.

Nativen:    Yeah but you know, ultimately it's about prioritizing what happiness and success means for you.

Susan:    It's all worked out. Because I get to be myself, you know? Really myself. It's really hard to describe but you just get to be exactly who you are in a really big way, you know? It's amazing. You don't have to please other people. And especially as a woman, it can be hard for us in our culture to figure that out.

Nativen:    So these are just a couple of rapid-fire questions but do you have a favorite restaurant in the area?

Susan:    La Copine.

Nativen:    Yup. I haven't been there yet but I'm excited. How about a favorite home goods or clothing store?

Susan:    The End.

Nativen:    Very good one. Well this is kind of a hilarious thing to ask in this area in particular but do you have a favorite kind of outdoor space or maybe some kind of outside sanctuary that really speaks to you in the area?

Susan:    Well I love [Joshua Tree] park. Anything in the park. I have a pass so my dog, Rupert and I can go anytime we want. But he can't run the trails so we have our other little secret places.

Nativen:    Is there a hidden gem in the area that you can share?

Susan:    One of my favorite things is the Noah Purifoy Museum. And that really was something that people just didn't even know about until LACMA did a retrospective last year. Have you been there?

Nativen:    I haven't yet, actually.

Susan:    It's really close to here and it's just 10 acres outside. It’s this cool combination of really high concept art and sculpture, and weird junk that he turns into some real high concept pieces. It's an amazing place. 

Nativen:    So what part of your process in the work that you do now brings you the most joy?

Susan:    Well my work here [at the Mojave Sands] is always pretty fun. I get to stay in one place and meet people from all over the world. 
I have some people here from Australia today, San Francisco, Germany, New York ... yeah so it's really fun. And you know I love people so ... I know that's such a cliché but I really do.

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Nativen:    It's great to be somewhere where the world comes to you.

Susan:    Yeah and it's small, so I can spend time talking to people and finding out who they are and what they do and what brought them to Joshua Tree and I can try to help influence, in a way, what kind of experience they have here, which is pretty cool. There's a few of us here that do that and we're obviously doing a pretty good job, because we had two-and-a-half million visitors in the park last year. Up from 2 million the year before.
So now we're in this place where, how do we keep doing this and grow, but grow in a good way so that it doesn't get out from under us and turn into some gross tourist place, you know? 

Nativen:    Yeah... shepherd that responsibly.

Susan:    But really, you know, interacting with people is my favorite part of my time.

Nativen:    That's great. What do you think is the greatest struggle?

Susan:    Cleaning up after people.
Trying to get people to understand what it means when I say we're on a septic.

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Nativen:    Well, you seem to be living a relatively well-balanced life out here. But is there one thing you’ve always wanted to do and haven't done yet?

Susan:    Oh, I could probably give you a huge list.
But, you know what I'm saying? I've never ridden a mule down into the Grand Canyon, which is something I'd like to do. I've never been through the Badlands and South Dakota and that part of the country. I love to travel so the one thing about this job is that it is a lot of work, which I'm okay with. But there are a lot of trips I'd like to take that I haven't done yet.
A little at a time.

Nativen:    Yeah.

Susan:    Last year I went on this amazing trip down to Baja. I won't even say where I went because it is a super cool place. And it was amazing. Spent every day on the boat in the water and water skied with 200 dolphins in a giant pod.

Nativen:    Like you do.

Susan:    But it wasn't like a glamorous vacation. I was sleeping on a cot in the yard of some old house where we had a flushing toilet but no electricity. But, because I am willing to travel that way, man, I have had some amazing experiences! We caught all our own food - crabs, clams, fish, and then we'd make our meals every day and … yeah.

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Nativen:    That sounds lovely, which actually transitions nicely into my next question ... what destination would you travel to if you could go anywhere? No rules. No obligation, just wherever you want to go.

Susan:    I'd go to New Zealand …  Australia. For like a few months.
I really like to travel, but I like to go and be somewhere for as long as I can. People come here where they're just like, "We're gonna cram it all into one night”. I'm like, "You can't come to Joshua Tree and check in here at 3 o'clock and leave at 11!” That's just not enough time, you know? That's just a roadtrip. It kind of breaks my heart. I've been here three and a half years and I haven't done it all! You know what I mean?
I haven't been to the Morango Preserve since the winter. And that's amazing. It’s just a short little hike. Have you been down there?

Nativen:    Yeah, I have. I went horseback riding near there a couple years ago. It's beautiful.
Do you listen to any music while you work or do you have a song that keeps your...

Susan:    I'm on a John Doe kick right now. He's a good friend of mine.
I work at Pappy's, at the door. People always say, "Why do you work at Pappy's?", “Because I like to go see music and if I work the door at Pappy's I save about $120 a month on tickets.” So that's fun.

Nativen:    Yeah. You meet interesting people too, I'm sure.

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Susan:    And hear all kinds of music. I love a lot of different kinds of music. I'm older so I've been listening to music for a really long time. The cool thing about working at Pappy's is that I just get to go and experience and hear whatever is happening there, so it can be anybody from 80 year old Wanda Jackson to Little Dragon.

Nativen:    Super eclectic mix. That's cool. 
What's the most helpful advice that you've received or that you might give to someone that's looking to pursue their creative dreams?

Susan:    I'm not very good at giving advice. I always think I want to give somebody advise because I'm bossy. Which is a good way to be because I'm sure of my own mind. I took a lot of risks. I have not lived a very safe life, you know? If I wanted to move somewhere, I did. I kept thinking when I was younger … just go do it. Because when you get older, you won't want to go and do it. But I moved here when I was 50 years old. With what I could fit in my car, you know?
I think I would just tell people that sometimes you have to take a risk and you have to believe in yourself and even if it goes bad, it can still be a good thing. You can't always think that you know what outcome is gonna be the best because sometimes the outcome that isn't the best turns out, in hindsight, to have been a really good thing. And if you're constantly trying to control how things turn out, you might miss making a mistake that will actually catapult you into a place you really wanted to be, you know?

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Nativen:    That’s really good advice.
Okay so this is our last question: What are 3 things you can't live without?

Susan:    My dog Rupert, my friends ... I really have always been a person that made a lot of friends. I'm a social girl. But this place is really ... there's some crazy magic here, you know?  Even though we all work a lot ... we make the effort. I don't have a TV. My phone doesn't work. I mean, I talk to my dog because you can get really isolated here. So I think it forces us to really maintain some ties and we have a lot of fun and we get to do stuff that when I was living in the city and working 14 hours a day... it didn't seem that regular. 
So I would definitely say my friends and... I don't know... you don't need a lot here. I need my car, I guess.

Nativen:    Sure.

Susan:    It would be a drag if I had to ride my motorcycle everywhere in the dirt. It's not a dirt bike.

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Interview by: Lily Hetzler

Photography by: Jac Potorke

This interview has been condensed & edited

all images copyright of Nativen