Politics as usual
Words: Yannick Niang & Sebastian Nicu
The golden twenties, my ass: 2020 will go down in history as a year in which a lot went wrong. Only recently, our column was about the consequences of the Corona pandemic for those interested in fashion. Today, however, we deal with racism and violence that cost many lives this year and drove many people onto the streets as a reaction. The most recent example of senseless, racially motivated police violence is the unscrupulous attack on Jacob Blake, who was irreparably paralyzed by Wisconsin police shooting eight bullets in his back. The fight against hatred and oppression can continue in the closet. Many brands use their standing to draw attention to the grievances with political T-shirts and ideally also collect donations for various organizations. We’ve put together some of the best T-shirts with statements against racism and police brutality in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that deserve more relevance than any logo mania ever did.
Yannick: Drunken Masters x Valentin Hansen – »FUCK OFFWHITE PRIDE« (Hanau Edition)
Usually the Drunken Masters stand for musical excesses and turn ups of the highest order. Exuberance and demolition are the order of the day with their DJ sets and their merch is also on the fun side of the fashion spectrum in terms of design. With their »FUCK OFF WHITE PRIDE« shirt, which they created together with media jack-of-all-trades Valentin Hanssen, they not only shoot against Off-White wearing hypebeasts, but above all they condemn the omnipresent White Supremacy and draw attention to its problems. The fact that this extraordinary trio, in the course of the racially motivated murders in Hanau, which took place this February, put on this shirt in a black version and donated the entire proceeds to the relatives of the ten victims through the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, can only be described as an extra-class power move!
Sebi: Noah – »Shark Boys«
Just in time for Donald Trump’s inauguration, the New York brand Noah 2016 released its Shark Boys T-shirt. Back then, not even Brendon Babenzien, founder of the brand and former creative director of Supreme, had any idea how bad the presidency of the orange man would really become. The cartoon sharks on the T-shirt beating up the most powerful man in the world with various tools still fit the feelings of many Americans in 2020 – especially so close to the new elections.
Yannick: Childhood Dreams in Partnership with Kyle Kuzma Foundation
Speaking of political crisis in America: Since the tragic death of George Floyd caused by the four police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, there has been a people-dividing tenson in the USA, which is expressed in Black Lives Matter protests and civil war-like riots. Since then, discourses have been initiated worldwide on all kinds of platforms, which (unfortunately, as so often) are now gradually fizzling out again. Fortunately, there are quite a few artists who immortalize the mood after such tragic and »groundbreaking« events in their art, while at the same time showing a clear attitude and taking a stand. One of them is Los Angeles-based brand Childhood Dreams, who, together with Lakers player Kyle Kuzma, designed a particularly expressive BLM T-shirt to commemorate George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other victims of racially motivated police violence, and to draw attention to the upcoming presidential elections, so that the above-mentioned orange man will hopefully soon no longer be able to call the @POTUS Twitter handle his own. In addition, all proceeds will go to the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP, one of the oldest black civil rights movements in the United States. So you can rock this one with a clear conscience.
Sebi: Stüssy – »End Racism«
If you are interested in streetwear, Hip Hop and co. like we are, you should ideally know that racism sucks. In order for you to share this knowledge on the streets with everyone you come across, Stüssy published this t-shirt in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by three police officers with a clear message: »Stand Firm – End Racism Now«. 50% of the proceeds from the sale were donated to Black Lives Matter and the Equal Justice Initiative. So if you were quick enough to get your hands on one of the popular shirts, you could combine two of the greatest things there are: consumption and doing good.
Yannick: Thek – »Club Solidarité«
The Düsseldorf-based curatorial collective _thek recently released their third piece of their »This is not a T-Shirt, this is a non-profit project« series, which they used to raise money for good causes in the past to help emerging artists and small bussinesses alike through the pandemic period. For the third release, _thek has drawn on the tolerance, unity and free love of the rave culture and let 23 international artists do their work. This time the proceeds will go to various NGOs such as Mission Lifeline, the Berlin organization Club Comission, Togetherwepush from Düsseldorf and Sea Watch. We dig!
Sebi: Butter Goods – »Gil Scott-Heron Fundraiser T-Shirt«
Butter Goods from Australia has released many pieces in its relatively young history, which are related to Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul and Funk. Art forms that would not exist without the African-American community. During the heated debate on racism that we are experiencing again this year, the gentlemen have therefore considered giving something back. What fits better than a T-shirt with the counterfeit of iconic artist Gil Scott-Heron? The soul musician is known for his political, socially critical lyrics and especially his piece »The Revolution Will Not Be Televised« from 1969 is even more topical today than we would like it to be over 50 years later. Therefore Butter Goods decided to print some lines of the song on the Gil Scott-Heron Fundraiser T-shirt. 100% of the proceeds went to The Bail Project and the NAACP Legal Defence Fund, both of which support those who have been innocently convicted. The perfect T-shirt for music lovers who want to take a stand against this fundamental problem in the US-American justice system.
Considering the current situation, you can’t really go wrong with the above mentioned pieces if you want to bring something positive into the world with your own streetwear addiction. Never forget that you are basically walking advertising pillars and always have the power to choose your message wisely. With this truism we want to release you into the next month. Stay safe!