An Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Comment Right at Home on Bronx Native Apparel

Rosemary Feitelberg

A.O.C.’s TOTAL KNOCKDOWN: Netflix tapped the little-known label Bronx Native to develop one-off T-shirts as a branding tool for its documentary “Knock Down the House.”

The flick shadows four women, including U.S. Representative for New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on the Hill. The T-shirts are imprinted with words spoken by the rookie congresswoman in the movie, “For one of us to make it, a hundred of us have to try.” Her 3.5 million Instagram followers can also find the statement on a recent post.

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Designed with Netflix, the shirts are not currently being sold at retail nor are there immediate plans to so. The shirt will be selectively distributed at a number of the community screenings and viewing parties for “Knock Down The House.” People can sign up online to try to host free screenings in their hometowns. In some cases, 20 to 100 shirts will be distributed per screening. The aim is to spread the word about the documentary and the partnership through the collaboration, according to a spokeswoman for Netflix.

Some attributed part of the appeal of the twentysomething progressive Democrat’s viral success to her campaign’s brand identity that was created by Tandem Design NYC. In tapping Bronx Native, Netflix appears to be staying on message. The limited-edition, unisex T-shirts are being spotlighted in a social media campaign, encouraging followers to share what they would like to “knock down” via Knock Down The ____.

Started in 2016 by Amaurys Grullon and his sister Rosalyn, Bronx Native was first an e-commerce outlet. The duo opened a pop-up shop the following year that turned into a permanent one at 127 Lincoln Avenue in the Bronx. The alliance with Netflix for “Knock Down The House” was not by chance. Bronx Native was one of the first places that A.O.C. campaigned for her congressional run in 2017. “We linked up through Instagram. She was campaigning here and there. I heard about her from a couple of people and she actually reached out to us through Instagram. She said, ‘I love what you guys are doing. I love what you stand for. I would love to host an event with you guys at the shop,’” he said.

The Bronx Native founders felt the same way about the budding politician “who looked like us, was striving to make things happen and had an amazing cause and mission.”

The Bronx-based apparel company plans to open a second location called the Bronx Native Market on June 1. It will be located at 866 Hunts Point Avenue. “That is designed to be a cultural hub for artists, creatives and entrepreneurs. We’re going to sell not only our merchandise but also Bronx-based brands and artists.” Amaurys Grullon said.

About 30 to 35 people showed up for the Ocasio-Cortez event at Bronx Native two years ago. “For us to be working with her again, and now on a bigger scale — she’s in Congress, she’s doing it up, she’s knocking down the House — was an amazing opportunity for us,” Amaurys Grullon said.

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