Amherst native Luis Fernandez collaborated with Olympic diver Michael Hixon for Ugly Family shirt design

  • Amherst native Luis Fernandez and his clothing company Ugly Family Clothing partnered with Olympic diver Michael Hixon for a shirt. It sold out its first run almost immediately. COURTESY UGLY FAMILY CLOTHING

  • The “No Splash” logo emblazoned on the back of the Ugly Family Clothing shirts Amherst’s Luis Fernandez collaborated with Michael Hixon on. COURTESY LUIS FERNANDEZ

  • Amherst Regional graduate Luis Fernandez designed a shirt for Olympic diver Michael Hixon. COURTESY LUIS FERNANDEZ

Staff Intern
Published: 7/27/2021 6:28:41 PM

Mutual admiration brought Amherst Olympic diver Michael Hixon and Ugly Family Clothing founder Luis Fernandez, a fellow Amherst grad, together.

Prior to the start of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Fernandez reached out to Hixon, a former classmate who is competing in the men’s synchronized 3-meter springboard event in Tokyo.

“We went to the same high school,” Fernandez said. “I’m 29 so when I was a senior, he was a freshman. The connection between Mike and I come from Matt Hixon, his brother who was in my grade so there is that bridge there.”

Hixon loved and supported Ugly Family Clothing since its beginning, and Fernandez showed his appreciation by designing and sending unique shirts to Hixon and his friends. However, after Hixon represented the brand on social media, Fernandez was flooded with fans eager to get their hands on merchandise ahead of the Tokyo Games. 

“I sent him some gear for free, but he paid for it because that’s the type of man he is, because I want Mike to post my stuff, too,” Fernandez said. “Mike posted it and divers from all around the world were messaging me.” 

Fernandez quickly began making designs on a small sheet of paper found in his pocket to sell in collaboration with Hixon, eventually landing on the No Splash Tee which is sold on Ugly Family Clothing’s website

While logos are often designed to show the end of a journey, Fernandez wanted his falling man design to show what it looks like before you start your journey or make a life changing decision. 

“A lot of powerful logos don’t show progression,” Fernandez said. “A lot of logos show what it looks like at the end of a journey or are trying to convey, ‘if I want to look like Jordan, I need to buy into Jordan.’ The falling man logo represents what it looks like before you start your journey. At the end of the day if you keep breaking it down, it becomes a more relatable logo because everyone has insecurities. At the end of the day, I wanted to take a more realistic approach to it which I think Mike was able to see. Knowing Mike and understanding his work to a certain level, it’s completely reflective of how hard he works.”

The collaboration has been a huge success for Fernandez who, above all else, wants people to come together as a community and as a family to support each other. The success of his most recent collaboration with Hixon did just that. 

“People are buying the shirts to wear to watch Mike,” Fernandez said. “This is exactly what Ugly Family Clothing is all about, coming together and doing something beautiful. My entire brand is based on community building. People buy my clothes and say, ‘I’m ugly’ and are embracing it. The most important thing is understanding where you come from and knowing your roots.”

Coming from an immigrant family, destined to hustle and achieve his aspirations, Fernandez developed Ugly Family Clothing, a clothing line that exemplifies what it means to be ugly through its tag line, “Being ugly means being authentic.”

“I’ve always had this feeling of taking negative words and turning them into positivity,” Fernandez said. “My dad also used to call me ugly, so my dad used to call me feo (ugly in Spanish), which is a term of endearment in Latino culture. So, coming from my dad calling me feo it’s subconsciously played a role in my mind. The ‘being ugly means being authentic’ just comes from my background and trying to lift others up.”

Along with his passion for art, which can be seen on his online art gallery, and his clothing line, Fernandez has made his mark in the music scene, touring across the country under the alias LuieGo, which he said had helped encourage him to start the Ugly Family Clothing business.

“Through me making music, fashion comes hand in hand,” Fernandez said. “I’ve always wanted to have my own clothing line anyways. Ugly Family Clothing came about when me and my friends as a collective, as musicians, called ourselves ‘ugly family’ and I kept shrinking down that idea until it became Ugly.”

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