The Activist Tee

Outside of signing petitions, supporting good causes and attending marches etc there is another easy way to spread a positive message. That being the way we dress, our attitude and approach towards clothing can have a massive wider impact. For now however I’m just going to focus on the activist tee.

Clothing is a commonly utilised medium to promote a cause and spread a message, from your free freshers club night pyjama shirt to TK Maxx’s Comic Relief annual line. An activist tee is an easy way to create conversation and spread awareness. In Hong Kong I have found the locals have a soft spot for inspirational quotes spread across their chest or back, or down their sleeve, or all of the above. It’s rather uplifting if I’m honest.

In the name of sustainability I support quality over quantity and personally think that a plain tote bag or tee is a great way to start. This is because you can personalise it yourself with wash-out pen if you wish to alternate between causes, or of course if you wanted to commit there’s always the permanent marker- it really is that simple. If you’d rather not DIY it then the internet is obviously a great place to start. Depending on your cause it may be that there are existing charities with clothing you may like to wear in support such as the popular CND, ‘NHS NOT TRIDENT’ top.

To date my personal experience with activist fashion statements is an anti-poaching top purchased in Thailand at the Elephant Nature Park last October, calling for respect and the equal value of lives of animals commonly killed for ivory. I’m pretty accustomed to sharing my approval and support on my clothing as I regularly wear band shirts and so the step for me was an easy one. However I can understand that casually promoting a strong message may be slightly uncomfortable for some at first. For me the action has earned respect and started a lot of conversations. Particularly when worn in a time and place where the ivory trade issue is elevated given that at present it is legal in Hong Kong. However, some good news as the S.A.R.’s Chief Executive recently announced plans to ban the domestic ivory trade. I dare say however that me and my top had little to do with this decision but you never know…

Wear your heart on your sleeve and help to make a change!



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