By: Jonina Diele

Jordan Tate wants you to imagine abstractly. He’s been doing so as long as he can remember—at just three years old, he was drawing doodles and trying to sell them to his family. “It would just be like scribbles and stuff,” he recalls. “I’d tell my grandpa ‘oh I’ll cut the deal down!’”

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These days, his deal doesn’t need to be cut. That artistic desire and inclination never left Tate, and it’s blossomed into a wonderfully weird clothing brand by the name of Manimal. It’s a concept that came to Tate back in high school. “I’ve always [drawn] these things called manimals, like humans and animals combined” he says. “My sophomore year of high school, I actually thought about putting it on clothing.” Tate explains that he started out making shirts with iron-on designs back then. He ended up having to focus on school and basketball, but still drew them all the time. He explains that he’s always been into artsy and creative hobbies, and is also a music producer in his free time. “I was trying to release what was in my mind,” he says. “It’s just what I did.”

Basketball led Tate out of his hometown of Albuquerque and to Fort Collins to play for Colorado State University’s team. He began a degree in Graphic Design there, but moved around to different schools across the country. Eventually he found his way back to CSU and graduated with a degree in Graphic Design this past spring. As part of his senior capstone project, Tate had to create a brand—and instantly thought back to his Manimal concept he began years before: “I thought, ‘since I have the resources to do it for school, let me just push it and see what happens’.”

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Tate had plenty of support in the launch of the brand, especially from his boss, Meriam Hanson, at Cira Boutique. The women’s clothing store is located in old town Fort Collins, where Tate does work such as designing flyers, running the social media, and videography/photography for the shop. When Tate mentioned his project to her, she offered to let him use the print making equipment she owns. Hanson’s husband taught him how to use the equipment, and he was able to create his first shirts for the Manimal brand with his own hands.

After years of work and conception, Manimal is finally a living and breathing brand. Its formal launch doubled as an art show at Fort Collins’ Downtown Artery on September 23rd. Tate took his launch as an opportunity to give visibility to fellow artists that he’s grown to know and appreciate in his artistic endeavors. “The whole purpose of everything is just to inspire creativity,” he states. He recalls people thinking his drawings were weird—“a lot of people have criticized me, ya know? Especially in high school.” Still, he never let it discourage him—and he encourages others to embrace being different. “Don’t be afraid to get your ideas out there, because no one knows what you’re thinking,” he says.

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Moving forward, Tate wants to stay consistent, both with his brand and his message. Right now, he hopes to continue spreading the word about Manimal, and in the future “the long term goal is just to see where it takes [him]”. He wants to expand the inventory of the brand as well, possibly to even include art prints—the shirts are simply the “first wave”.

The best is yet to come for Jordan Tate and the Manimal brand, and he’s surely not someone you wanna sleep on. Stock up on some gear, open your wild mind, and join the movement.