When I close my eyes and think about all that has happened this year, the visual imagery that runs through my mind, the thing I see in every image, are hands in action.
Washing hands to prevent the spread of a deadly virus; raising hands in fists, holding protest signs to make our voices heard; avoiding hugs, embraces and handshakes in order to keep our communities and families safe.
As all these images flash through my mind, another image comes into view. Myself in the polling both, my hand holding a crisp sheet of paper, my fingers pressing the buttons to cast my vote. A vote for change, a vote to end a pandemic, a vote to put a stop to white supremacy, a vote for an anti-racist America that I can be proud to be a part of.
While I hold that image in my mind, reality comes crashing in with a jarring reminder that voter suppression efforts are well underway in this country. From the purging of voter roles, to the USPS disruption, to the completely unfounded scrutiny placed on mail in ballots, voter suppression is alive, well and strategic. It's time we put an end to Donald Trump's dictatorship and restore democracy--and that starts with exercising our right to vote in November.
When we decided to make a print we knew we wanted it to say something—which is why we’re excited to introduce Hands in Action— a print designed to inspire us to get to work, to take action, and to vote.
With every purchase between now and Election Day (11/3/20) we’ll send 5% of Hands in Action print sales to Movement Voter Project. And while voting isn’t the panacea to cure all our ills in the United States, it is a crucial part of a well-functioning democracy and the first step towards a more just, inclusive and progressive future.
Read on to see behind the scenes of our print-making process, and what else you can do to ACT UP, SPEAK OUT and VOTE this election season.
Here's to democracy!
Mary Alice Duff
Creative Director & Founder
Taking the inspiration of "hands in action" our designer Geneva, created a digital sketch of a series of overlapping hands.
From there, Geneva began to fill in different areas with color and then began to remove lines to create a more abstract depiction of the hands.
Geneva continued to refine the print, testing the scale of the print and ultimately landing on the last image depicted.
From there the image is divided into two files (one for each color) and is sent to a screen processor for creation of the print screens.
In mass produced fashion, printed fabrics are typically created on synthetic fibers using a process called digital printing. This process is out of reach for many small, independent designers and those who prefer natural fibers. Furthermore printers who are willing to work with natural fibers like linen and hemp, or semi-natural fibers like Cupro and Tencel are non-existent. While wanting to create a print, but not wanting to be forced to use polyester or settle for a deadstock that we really didn't want, we turned to our friends at Lobo Mau, a Philadelphia based fashion brand known for their hand made prints, for assistance.
Lobo Mau trained our team to create our own custom, hand printed fabrics using a screen-printing technique. Screens are made of the printed image we created. Fabric is laid on a long table and pinned securely in place. A screen is placed on top of the fabric, and ink is poured along the bottom of the screen. A squeegee is passed over the screen dispersing the ink evenly. The screen is lifted off the fabric and moved to the next section of fabric. For every color in a print, another screen is used. Once this first print layer was dried, the second screen is laid on top, and the process is repeated, dispersing the second color onto the fabric.
Fabrics are left to dry overnight and then heat press to ensure longevity. Printing fabrics in this manner is a highly labor intensive process but the results are outstanding!
After printing and heat setting the fabrics, the new hand-printed designs are cut and sewn into some of our best selling styles and made available to you.
Now through through Election Day (11/3/2020) we’re donating 5% of every sale of our Hands in Action print to the Movement Voter Project.
The Movement Voter Project (MVP) works to strengthen progressive power at all levels of government by helping donors – big and small – support the best and most promising local community-based organizations in key states, with a focus on youth and communities of color. MVP supports hundreds of incredible organizations that both turn out unlikely voters and organize communities to grow their power and create transformation, from policy to the streets. MVP believes that supporting local movement vote groups is the most effective and most cost-effective strategy to transform our country.
Ready to put those hands and hearts to work? Let’s do this!
1. Purchase a piece from our Hands in Action print collection, and we’ll send 5% to MVP, simple! (This applies to payment plan purchases too!)
2. Register to vote/ check that you are registered to vote. Click here to confirm your voter registration status.
3. Ask your friends and family if they have a plan to vote and ask if you can help. Figuring out how to vote during a pandemic (especially if folks haven’t voted regularly before) can be especially confusing! Let’s make it easier for folks to vote and share a helping hand. Only HALF of eligible voters participated in the last election! Odds are you know someone who didn’t vote last time around—start a conversation!
4. Make a plan to vote. This year won’t be as simple as going to your local polling place. Do your research NOW. Is vote by mail available in your state? Be sure to request your
ballot ASAP! Also check to see if your municipality offers ballot drop off locations in lieu of using the post office. Are you planning to go to a polling location? Be sure to check your location. Polling locations have been reduced during the pandemic. Use this resource here created by Dame Magazine to verify the details in your state.
4. Fight voter suppression and work to ensure others have the access, resources and education they need in order to vote! Volunteering opportunities here, here, here and here.
5. Donate directly to MVP here or another voting organization of your choice.
6. But most importantly VOTE.
1. When will the collection be available for purchase?
Friday, August 21st with first access going to email subscribers.
2. Is this a limited edition collection?
Yes! We'll sell pieces in this collection until we reach our order cap. When we reach the cap, we'll mark all pieces as sold out. The following month, we'll "re-stock" and create another opportunity for folks to purchase from this collection.
3. Will there be more prints?
YES! We hope to make this a multi-part series, dropping new printed pieces each month. As this is our very first hand printed collection we're taking it one step at a time.
4. When will pieces from this collection ship?
Our goal is to ship these products in 6-8 weeks, fingers crossed, sooner, but we don't want to get anyone's hopes up! As we rebuild from the damage caused by the pandemic we're working to bust through our open order list, train new team members and learn new skills. Please bear with us. We PROMISE it's worth the wait.
5. How is screen-printing different than regular printing?
Screen printing ink sits on top of the fabric, versus sublimation printing which sinks into the fabric. The different being that screen-printed fabrics have a tactile feel to them. The colors are crisp and vibrant, don't fade like a digital print and have a unique artisan appeal--in fact, no two yards are identical.
6. How do I care for my screen-printed garment?
We recommend hand wash/ line or lay flat to dry. We've tested these in the washer and dryer and they've held up, but the best way to keep your clothes looking brand new is to baby them a little.