Designers dedicate clothing line to black thinkers and leaders
February 17, 2016 at 9:30 am
Philadelphia Printworks created a line of incredibly comfortable and extremely stylish sweatshirts named ‘School of Thought’ in collaboration with graphic designer Mars Five . You might have seen them as you scrolled through your Instagram feed and placed your order within minutes of double tapping the picture.
“The collection is a nod to the double consciousness expressed by W.E.B DuBois,” explains Maryam Pugh, owner of Philadelphia Printworks.
“It also refers to the dual education we receive through the state-funded education system and the education we teach ourselves in our communities. This communal education includes ideologies from James Baldwin to Harriet Tubman to many, many more.”
Their most popular sweatshirt is named after poet, radical feminist and activist Audre Lorde who wrote masterfully about the intersections of black womanhood, lesbianism and civil rights issues throughout her career.
“I feel that social activism should be ingrained in our culture. Activism forces us to face some of the more uncomfortable truths,” Pugh says.
Philadelphia Printworks features other wares, such as the brilliant red ‘Chisholm For President’ inspired by Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisolm, the first black woman elected to Congress and first woman to run for president. You might have seen the sweatshirt on Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux as she interviewed Bernie Sanders. Or perhaps you saw actress Thandie Newton wearing the dope ‘No Justice No Peace’ t-shirt.
“I am so blown away every time I see anyone post a photo of themselves wearing one of our shirts! I absolutely love it. It shows that the message resonates. It’s an honor.
“Art is an excellent tool for reaching people in a way that other methods cannot. Art should resonate, provoke thought and reflect the people,” says Pugh.
As the literal embodiment of #BlackGirlMagic, Pugh is a screen printer, business woman and software test engineer. She co-founded the company in 2010 and the small business is continuing to expand.
Philadelphia Printworks is further developing the ‘School of Thought’ collection into a kid’s line as wells as t-shirts, hats and hoodies. So although we may not be able to apply to Tubman University (yet), we can at least represent our favorite thinkers and revolutionaries through designs made by inspiring young artists today.
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Lara Witt is a journalist and intersectional feminist attempting to dismantle all forms of oppression through writing. Follow her on Twitter and IG @femmefeministe.