For the past three months, the Zenerations team has been hard at work with Progressive Threads (@progressivethreads) to develop a line of t-shirts that encapsulate the youthful vision of our organization. Fashion is a way to express the message that you want to put out in the world, and with each simplistic, cartoon-like design, and the phrases written atop them, sporting these t-shirts displays a sign of hope for the future.
The design process involved a repetitive amount of trial and error. While aspects of graphic design play a significant role in Zenerations’ organizational brand, our team had always adhered to a specific style. Our head graphic designer, Lilly Marsh, and our founder, Sophia Delrosario, at first thought to create a design that was cohesive with our infographic feed. After quickly realizing that we needed to step out of our comfort zone in order to produce quality t-shirts, we delved into different art styles. From minimalistic text to single line art to realistic images, drafts and drafts of sketches began clouding our files, until we refocused on our initial vision: the youth.
Our final design consisted of a minimalistic, cartoon-like style in order to encapsulate the ‘youthful’ tone of both the collection and the organization. Using a singular color, basing the facial features and body figures on preschool, geometric shapes, and the imperfect lines contributed to this youthful image.
Black Futures Matter
The fight against racial injustice and police brutality has caused a major shift in the eventful year of 2020, sparking protests, outrage and new forms of activism both online and in-person. Fashion is used not only for self-expression, but to also display the message you want to send out into the world. In order to merge these two ideas, and at the same time adhere to the collection’s theme, our design depicts two Black adolescents in the simple cartoon style, with the words “Black Dreams Matter, Black Futures Matter, Black Lives Matter.” inscribed atop them.
Activism in general is rooted in keeping an eye out for the next generation, making a change now so our children won’t have to endure the same hardships. This is especially significant in regards to the Black Lives Matter Movement. The repercussions of slavery, police brutality, prejudice and racism, and education, housing, and healthcare are issues that disproportionately affect Black people. But with the spread of knowledge and people uniting to take action, our generation must take bigger steps to making sure Black youth won’t have to endure the same problems. That, they aren’t discriminated against on college applications and in the medical/healthcare industry, that problems like gentrification and redlining won’t pose such a pressing issue, that the color of one’s skin won’t determine whether or not they receive fair treatment.
50% of the proceeds from the Our Futures Matter Collection will be donated to Color of Change.
Ever seen an array of colorful infographics plastered across your Instagram stories? How about a famous TikToker dancing in the background of lists to anti-racism resources? From the encouragement of more youth voters to our push to prevent climate change, Generation Z has taken new, creative initiatives to fight for the issues that we care about in our modern day and age.
Activism in the youth has manifested itself through online resources and social media presence, especially due to our unexpected thrust into the digital age due to COVID-19. Between the Black Lives Matter Movement to the 2020 Presidential Elections, our prolonged period of quarantine has left us with a lot of time on our hands. Within these months, we were able to learn new terms, facts, ideologies, and concepts simply by scrolling through social media to be directed to easily accessed resources. From there, teens would share posts, resource collections, videos, and links to further spread awareness, sign petitions, email our local governments, and more, displaying that age is not a hindrance towards use one’s voice for good.
While many members of Generation Z are unable to vote, and often do not have the freedom or availability to attend protests or do organizational, non-profit, or volunteer work, participating in social media activism is accessible, and also displays the youth’s potential to make a lasting impact on the future. Our second design of t-shirts reads, “You’re Never Too Young to Change the World”, scribbled onto a protest sign held by a young person. This further represents Gen Z’s dedication, willingness, and passion to make a real difference, and fulfills the narrative that today’s teens are full of changemakers.
Several months ago, Progressive Threads had contacted Zenerations in order to produce merchandise that fully encapsulated our vision. As a clothing company that promoted activism issues and progressivism through fashion, there was no partner more perfect than Progressive Threads to collaborate with in order for Zenerations to finally venture into the world of apparel.