Chris Printup, one of the founders of streetwear brand Born X Raised, which has become a fixture in the Los Angeles fashion scene, died Wednesday morning at a hospital in Albuquerque, NM. He was 42 years old and lived in Los Angeles.
He died Sunday of injuries sustained in a car crash in Albuquerque, a brand representative confirmed by phone.
Mr. Printup, known as Spanto, founded Born X Raised with Alex Erdmann, known as 2Tone. The brand quickly attracted the city’s creative class to events like the Born X Raised Sadie Hawkins Winter Formal.
“Born x Raised is like a love letter to the city I once grew up in, which is now gone,” said Mr. Printup, who was Native American, on an episode of “The canvas: Los Angeles”, a series of documentaries on the artists of the city. « This is me. This is who I will always be. And if you don’t like it, we don’t care.
Born June 6, 1981 in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles to Butch Mudbone of the Seneca Nation and Cheryl Printup of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, Mr. Printup experienced poverty as a child, in and out of juvenile detention and working as a drug dealer, he said in the documentary. Eventually, he ended up in a supermax prison, he said, where he decided to start Born X Raised.
The label, Mr. Printup said in the documentary — parts of which took place on the set of a commercial — was born out of a desire to « shed some light » on his childhood Los Angeles, particularly Venice before it was gentrified, which he described as the antithesis of Tinseltown. “I had an idea and a feeling and an emotion and I turned it into this,” he said, adding that he had never studied clothing design or dreamed of visiting fashion events in Europe. « There was no plan, there was no business model. »
In the episode, he detailed his life, starting with the struggles of growing up poor and then watching his hometown change. He worked as a craftsman in the sheet metal workers union, Local 33, he said, adding that he started the brand as « a way to channel my frustration and anger. » In 2013, he and his partner began selling the line at Union, a Los Angeles clothing store.
Shortly after starting the brand, Mr. Printup received a cancer diagnosis. She underwent chemotherapy and lost 100 pounds and her hair, she wrote in a post on the brand’s Instagram in December. She worked throughout the treatment.
“What I’m getting at is that life is hard on everyone and I want everyone to know that if you’re feeling discouraged or feel like life has given you too many handicaps, THAT’S OKAY. you will be fine things will get better,” Mr. Printup said, adding that he had gone into remission.
Mr. Erdmann, the business partner, described Mr. Printup as a « hardworking » force of nature who was gregarious and loved by everyone he worked with. He said Mr. Printup had been to Albuquerque for a traditional Native American ceremony and that his father, Mr. Mudbone, had died just two months earlier after a similar ceremony, also in a car accident. Born X Raised will likely hold an event to honor Mr. Printup, Mr. Erdmann said by phone on Wednesday.
“We will not fold. We will not stop telling this story. We will only change the way we do it, because we no longer have it,” Erdmann said. Of Mr. Printup, he added, « Every second day he had the wind to do things, he did it. »
Besides her mother, Mr. Printup leaves his wife, Anna Printup; a daughter, Marilyn A. Printup; two sons, David R. Garcia and Carter Printup-Specht; three half-brothers, Cai Printup, Casey Printup and Willie Mudbone; a half-sister, Zyanya Mudbone; and her stepmother, Caroline Mudbone; ; said a rep for the brand.
In « The Canvas, » Mr. Printup noted that he had always been haunted by doubt, but he had persisted. « When will they realize I’m not good at this? » he said. « I think anyone who’s smart questions themselves. »
Christine Hauser contributed report.