Equalitees: Ireland’s first slow fashion ‘protest brand’ launches with apparel line
Irish social enterprise We Make Good launches its homegrown apparel and T-shirt line Equalitees to “tackle pressing social issues”
We Make Good has launched Ireland’s first slow fashion ‘protest brand’ today, with a collection of T-shirts and accessories designed to tackle some of the country’s most pressing and divisive issues.
The Irish social enterprise has partnered with 10 up-and-coming Irish designers to create the hand-printed designs that adorn the T-shirts. Designs touch on subjects from climate change, racism, and mental health to trans rights and gender equality. Artists include Deborah Adachi, Sarah Devereux, Grace Enemaku, Mel Gardner, and Ren McDonagh.
The artists worked alongside members of the We Make Good team to bring the printed T-shirts to life. Members include Dubliners who come from marginalised communities in the inner city, refugees, people with disabilities, or those with experience of prison on drug rehabilitation. The objective is to create employment and training opportunities, and it allows people to become skilled makers in the craft.
This chimes with We Make Good’s overall mission of championing inclusivity in the professional sphere, and previous projects range from members creating homewares, interiors, and accessories which are stocked on We Make Good’s website and in various independent stores around the country.
Its Equalitees campaign takes its cue from the success of We Make Good’s previous ‘Welcome Refugees’ T-shirt campaign in May. The campaign was launched to support the messaging around welcoming refugees to Ireland and providing safe places to accommodate them.
As CEO and co-founder of the social enterprise, Caroline Gardner, explains: “There is something really powerful and empowering about wearing your values. People told us that wearing something they believed in connected them to others and started important conversations.”
Equalitees launches today with a Kickstarter funding campaign, with donations going towards transforming its print workshop in Mountjoy Square into a full-time studio to support more fashion and apparel production. At present, We Make Good supports periodic workshops to create its current range.
The Kickstarter works by customers shopping the T-shirts and ‘pledging’ €42 (the price of each T-shirt). Other options are available to support the campaign, such as badges and tote bags that feature the same messaging (starting at €25), or you can enrol yourself – or a group – in a printing workshop to create a T-shirt (€200 per person).
The T-shirts are made from organic cotton and screen printed with water-based ink; a sustainable alternative to the traditional petroleum-based kind. We Make Good operates a circular model of production, whereby printed T-shirts that don't reach the required standard are made into new products by its textile studio. The social enterprise was founded in 2018 by Joan Ellison and Caroline Gardner.
The Equalitees range is available online at kickstarter.com