Activist Tees From Brands That Walk The Walk
There are a lot of tees with feminist messages out there, but most come from brands that are fast fashion and don’t walk the walk. This month, HuffPost came out with an article about the lack of empowerment for garment workers, citing statistics from the Garment Worker Diaries project (which I highly suggest reading). A recent survey found that 60% of women reported gender-based discrimination in the garment manufacturers industry.
A 2015 report issued by the Solidarity Center states that 75% of garment workers are female, but those women only earn 60-75% of what men earn in the same jobs. Sexual harassment is also an expected part of garment factory jobs are most often ignored.
Brand transparency is difficult to track, but Fashion Revolution has some fantastic resources if you want to learn more about your favorite brands and their practices. In the meantime, if you want a great activist tee that has actual action behind it, I suggest some of these brands.
Green Box Shop
Even if you haven’t heard about about Green Box Shop, you’ve seen their merch on Frank Ocean. If you’ve been wanting a simple shirt that says “Well behaved women rarely make history” or “Feminism is for everyone,” this is the best place to buy those without hurting female garment workers. The most popular shirt the brand sells is the “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could be quiet?” design, but you can find more feminist, LGBTQ+ and racial equality-themed designs on the website.
One of my favorite brands, Dazey LA is ethically manufactured in Los Angeles. The goal of the designs is to “spark conversation, cultivate community, and create change.” Dazey inspired me to make the final push into cutting fast fashion from my closet completely and I’ve been an ambassador for the brand for over a year. You can get 10% off the below designs with my code, “NALLY,” if you’d like! (I do get commission)
Everlane’s 100% Human collection donates $5 from each sale to either the ACLU, Equality Now or the Human Rights Campaign.
This Seattle-based brand sells accessories, paper goods, home items, apparel, and more. The tees they sell are made to order in the USA in ethical workshops and a percentage of proceeds benefit non-profit partners. There are quite a few empowering designs available, but the “Every Woman” tee and “No Solicitors” sweatshirt are my favorites.
The edgy, streetwear statement graphics from Chnge tell anyone who sees you exactly what you believe in, point blank. The brand’s mission statement is to “give consumers who care an outlet to make a positive impact in the world through their purchases.” Chnge uses sustainable materials to create their clothing and is extremely transparent about how and where their garments are made.
Black And Beech
This UK-based company’s tees are Fair Wear Foundation certified and printed in the UK using environmentally friendly, water-based inks. The brand also donates portions of their sales to feminist and reproductive health organizations. Plus the shirts are pretty, which is always a bonus.
The Outrage is both a retail company and social space. I visited their store in D.C. a few years ago and it was really cool! You’ve definitely seen their products because they were the official merch partner for the Women’s March and March For Our Lives. Portions of their proceeds go to different charities, including the ACLU and Everytown for Gun Safety. Their products are ethically sourced and WRAP certified, because as the founder Rebecca Lee Funk wisely said, “You can't run a feminist company on the backs of women in developing countries.”