Minnesota Designers Fueling Feminist T-Shirt Craze

By Jenna Ross
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The feminist T-shirt is having a moment. Fueled by people who want to express their support for women’s rights at marches, but also at work, out for dinner, on Instagram, the shirts are growing in popularity and power.

MINNEAPOLIS

The messages are strong and sometimes funny. One is feisty, another is in French. But always, they’re wearable.

“Matriarch”

“She persisted”

“Anarchy is female”

“Solidarite feminine”

“Feminism: Back by popular demand”

The feminist T-shirt is having a moment. Fueled by people who want to express their support for women’s rights at marches, but also at work, out for dinner, on Instagram, the shirts are growing in popularity and power.

Sure, luxury brand Dior is selling a $700 feminist tee, but the trend is rooted in a $30 unisex shirt from the Los Angeles shop Otherwild. “The Future Is Female,” the shirt declares.

Minnesota artists and designers are creating some of the more popular designs, using the T-shirts to raise money for nonprofits focused on women’s health and equality. They’re also gathering around the messages, hosting printing workshops and discussions.

“I think this activism zeitgeist just overlapped with a renewed interest in graphic tees as a medium for artists and designers,” said Minneapolis designer Maddy Nye. “Of course it’s only a T-shirt, but it’s contributing to a larger paradigm shift in awareness and action.”

Protest art and imagery hangs from the walls of Nye’s sunny home studio. For her “Matriarch” shirt, Nye used a bulbous typeface that “had its heyday during the environmental and women’s movements in the 1970s,” she said, “but I like to use it in a contemporary context.”

So with just one word, the design asks questions about what’s changed since then, and what hasn’t. Some people have bought Nye’s tees for their mothers, women who fought earlier battles.

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