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July 24 2014

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Riding The Fashion Wave

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“It has nothing to do with drugs or money,” insisted Argentina-born Tin Ojeda, the designer behind Drug Money Art, as he organized a rolling rack of his colorful, handmade T-shirts in a NYC studio. “I just spray painted ‘Drug Money Art’ on a surfboard for fun one day and then took it to the beach—people were tripping on it.”

The Montauk-based surfer-turned-designer came to fashion serendipitously. Ojeda’s friends raved about his accidentally paint-splashed T-shirts (“Classic artist with paint all over him, I know”), and then, after a day of surfing two years ago, a woman on the beach stopped him to offer her compliments, too. That woman was Julie Gilhart, then the fashion director of Barneys New York, and she wanted to find out where he had bought it. “I told her I made it,” Ojeda told Style.com, at an appointment to preview his new collection this week. “It was an old one, with holes and a worn neck, but she loved it and wanted to order them for Barneys.” Today, D/M Art’s hang-loose unisex shirts, featuring funky screen prints with phrases like “Beauty Is Boring” or yogis on surfboards, are sold in Barneys stores around the country and worldwide in major cities including London, Berlin, and Toronto.

Now, word is spreading far and wide. Fellow Montauker Cynthia Rowley is planning an event with Ojeda for this summer, where she hopes to release his hand-printed “limited-collection books of nonsense photographs and words” along with the debut of his summer collection. And rumor has it Reese Witherspoon’s a fan, too—she’s reportedly wearing one of Ojeda’s shirts in an upcoming movie.

Drug Money Art tees, $80 to $85, available at Barneys stores nationwide; for more information, visit www.drugmoneyart.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Drug Money Art

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