10 Apr T-shirts are the medium for progressive messages – San Francisco Chronicle
T-shirts are the medium for progressive messages – San Francisco Chronicle
From the catwalks of New York and Europe to the sidewalks of cities like San Francisco, T-shirts bearing declarative messages are everywhere, reflecting life following the polarizing 2016 election and the reaction to the new Trump administration.
The fashion industry kicked off the trend in February when prominent designers emblazoned pro-women and pro-diversity sentiments on T-shirts worn on the runways and designated a percentage of sales to support nonprofit organizations.
With phrases like “Resist,” “Immigrant” and “Go Rogue,” San Francisco T-shirt company Road Twenty-Two’s latest offerings mirror the left-leaning shirts sold by designers. “The T-shirt is such an integral piece of the wardrobe,” said Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at New York retail and fashion industry strategy firm the Doneger Group. “We are all immigrants,” was one of 19 messages on shirts on Nepalese American fashion designer Prabal Gurung’s runway show in New York. Retail data company Edited reports that in the first three months of 2017, sales of “statement tops” have already climbed 46 percent compared with a year ago.
The British designer’s slogan tees, such as the antisuicide message “Choose Life,” were most famously worn by the late pop singer George Michael in a music video. Closer to home, Road Twenty-Two, founded by Fif Ghobadian and Alice Larkin Cahan in 2014, is embracing the trend, as is the customizable local T-shirt app Levatee. Road Twenty-Two’s mission emphasizes sustainable, American production and employing previously incarcerated and homeless women, a socially conscious ethos that makes it well suited for stepping into politics.
ACT UP, a direct action group working to end AIDS, took the pink triangle and “Silence = Death,” slogan off one of their posters and emblazoned it on T-shirts that populated protests in the ’80s and ’90s. […] Someone With Balls, “Deal With It” and “Grab America By the P—” after a social media backlash. Amazon and other sites carry graphic T-shirts ranging from presidential portraits (including Trump portrayed as Rambo), to plays on Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rallying cry.