Life is inherently political - we let our clothes do the talking

Posted by Siana Bangura on

I remember the night Barbara and I sat in her room brainstorming, planning and scheming what a re-launch would like. Once we agreed on the new name and logo - after all, we weren’t just making statement tees anymore but also totes, headwraps, and even homeware like mugs- we had to think up a new slogan and mission statement. After lots of back and forth, we agreed on what we now use proudly: ‘Life is inherently political, let your clothes do the talking’.

And that’s just it! Life really is inherently political, especially if you belong to a minoritised group in a place like Britain - be that because of your race, gender (or non-gender), class, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and practices, weight, age, ability, accent. All these identity markers can and do become politicised in the form of shambolic exercises like Brexit, or tragedies like Grenfell or scandals like Windrush to name just a few from recent memory. From the clothes you wear to the place you live, where you’ve been educated, who your parents are, even what you eat, who you socialise with, and who you sleep with, politics invades these spaces in small (or big) ways.

I’m sure we all know someone who claims that they ‘don’t do politics’. I wish it was that easy. Thing is, if you care about your housing, your job, education, access to basic amenities, transport, policing, even the weather (hello climate change) then politics with a lowercase or an uppercase ‘p’ is intersecting with your life. The personal really is political.

 

At Sassy Apparel, we’ve embraced this understanding and, with some helpful tongue-in-cheek humour and our own brand of a sprinkle of sass, we’ve helped you speak loudly, starting with what you’re wearing. Our slogans are one thing, but the very way we create and distribute our tees is another form of protest. We use eco-friendly inks for printing, organic cotton for the tees themselves, the people making our clothes are fairly paid (hence the prices of our stock) and our packaging is recyclable always. In a world of fast fashion and oppressive capitalism, we want to be a breath of fresh air. Barbara and I make no secret of our left leaning socialist values - unlike mainstream branding protocol, we do not want to be neutral nor do we think it’s wrong to have a strong opinion. When you buy from us you know exactly what you’re getting.

It’s been a fun ride so far, with lots of hard work taking place in the background and of course the usual challenges and sacrifices you encounter as an independent business. We are enjoying working collaboratively and popping up at festivals like Africa Utopia most recently with our friend Dorcas Creates and partnering up with community groups and other small businesses to provide printing services too! I myself have been travelling and community building abroad, rocking our tees and totes, and I can confirm that they really are conversation starters.


 

And did you know that we’re throwing a re-launch bash at Pempeople on Saturday 18th August? You can expect insightful panel discussions exploring socialism for Black, Brown and other historically oppressed groups of people, moving away from fast (exploitative) fashion, divesting from ‘diversity’ as a vain corporate exercise and of course, why the personal is political and how we can embrace this. But it won’t be just great conversation that you have to look forward to! Our panelist Nadina Ali will is baking us some sweet treats and you’ll be able to purchase our new stock as well as seeing it modelled by some awesome people on our catwalk. And don’t forget music and live entertainment too - all are welcome!

Sassy Apparel is not just a clothing brand but a lifestyle brand too. We care about building community and we are excited to meet the customers and supporters - new and day ones - who have kept this brand going with their money, championing, goodwill, ideas, offline and online engagement, and support in every sense of the word.

Get your tickets right here: www.tickets.partyforthepeople.org/events/4143-life-is-inherently-political-sassy-apparel-re-launch


Oh! Have you seen our bomb-ass trailer yet? That was a lot of fun to shoot. Produced by me and shot and edited by the brilliant Troy Aidoo (with gorgeous photography by Abiola Bankole), our new trailer definitely captures what we’re all about. Thank you to all our friends who got involved in that! And if you fancy finding out a bit more about what Sassy Apparel is all about and what we stand for, check out Barbara’s new Behind The Scenes film.

So, all that’s left to say is we’ll see you in Peckham at Pempeople on Saturday 15th September!

Siana.

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Don’t forget to follow activity leading up to the big day by using our #TooMuchSass hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and catch us in real time at @SassyApparelUK

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