BY NOE GUTIERREZ
Joe Rubio, Jr. is one dedicated individual. His commitment to his most recent venture, The Dedicateds Clothing Co., cannot be denied. There is an obvious spirit noticeable in the products that are available now at www.thededicateds.com. The designs have original Hawaiian motifs with a mighty Polynesian influence. This year Rubio decided to activate the dream he has had since age 17. Rubio shared, “The thought to do a clothing line has been a goal of mine since 2003. I’ve been designing stuff the whole time but never pulled the trigger. I studied the business, the competition and wanted to do something bigger with my line, to create something with substance.” Rubio is a combination of enthusiastic and hard-working. Coachella Valley Weekly spoke to Rubio about his small business and the many other things he has his hands in.
CVW: What does “The Dedicateds” mean to you?
JR: “For me, to be dedicated is to be devoted to originality, not trends. The Dedicateds is for those who dance to a different beat, journey the road less traveled, dare to stand out, demand the best for themselves and inspire greatness in others. I wanted to create something that will move, motivate and uplift the people. The Dedicateds Clothing Co. was created for everyone, it is my belief that all beings have a passion, be it sports, art, music, faith; you can be a surfer, guitar player, model, martial artist, a preacher, a husband, wife, son or daughter. With a little more devotion our worlds can be more.”
CVW: You are also involved in the martial arts. What drew you to this art form?
JR: “I grew up in it, my father being an instructor he had all of us train. I started when I was four years old and I continue to teach, train and compete to this day.”
CVW: Additionally, you work for Empire Music Ventures. What are your duties with them and what is your favorite part of working for such a unique organization?
JR: “On paper, I’m the lighting director, but I do a lot more. I design show flyers, concert merch, DJ the festivals, yell at people and get yelled at…a lot, ha ha.”
CVW: One of the many hats you wear is DJ. Have we seen the last of “DJ Rawkwell”?
JR: “I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a DJ, only because I love music so much. I’m particular about the events I do. I love playing old school, 90’s, new jack, reggae and I am blessed to say I stay pretty busy doing so.”
CVW: You always seem so relaxed and unassuming when I see you. How do you remain cool and collected when you have so many irons in the fire?
JR: “HAKUNA MATATA! I do what I love to do. I’m very blessed and fortunate to be in the position I’m in because I know what it’s like to be on the opposing side. STAY HUMBLE AND KEEP IT ALOHA!”
CVW: You are full of Polynesian pride. How does this self-confidence in your background translate to how you honor your approach to The Dedicateds or any endeavor?
JR: “A lot of my designs for The Dedicateds are Polynesian influenced, but the meanings are universal. The Polynesian culture is a strong one, heavy in their beliefs and strong on ‘ohana’ (family) as are many cultures. I pay tribute to my culture in some designs, it’s who I am, and it’s what I know. I wanna spread ‘aloha’ to the masses, and in this current state the world is in that’s not a bad thing to do.”
CVW: Walk me through the process of designing to implementation.
JR: “The process changes all the time for me. I design everything I do. Usually I’ll have the idea, lay it out. Mess with color ways. Once I personally like the design I’ll then send it to my review team for feedback. Occasionally I’ll put it on social media to see the response, which helps me determine my releases. After that I send that artwork to my vendor to print, then set up photo shoots with my models then get the product on the website.”
CVW: I had a conversation with Yesod Williams, drummer for Pepper, before their Rhythm Wine & Brews show last year about the term ‘ohana’. ‘Ohana’ means family in Hawaiian. Yesod felt that it’s based on respect for your elders and who you consider your family. What is your understanding and interpretation of ‘ohana’?
JR: “I agree, ‘ohana’ is all we have, all we should need. Sometimes family comes from those not blood, but are just as close if not closer than blood. ‘Ohana’ is beautiful. I don’t keep a lot of company, but the ones I keep near are family, my ‘ohana’. If we’re not related in any way and I call you ‘braddah,’ ‘sis,’ ‘aunty,’ ‘unko,’ I’ll treat you as such. I see no difference. You’re my family. ‘Ohana’ over everything!”
Rubio is regularly developing new designs so check his website often and follow him on social media. If you see him at the Date Shed during the upcoming season give him an ‘aloha’!