Resistance is Textile
November 23, 2016 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Where should I buy social justice merch if I want to be sure the money will go to support social justice causes?

I'd like to get some tshirts, sweatshirts, patches, buttons, totes, etc. with social justice messaging - Black Lives Matter, womens' rights, LGBT rights, immigrants' rights, Muslim rights, native rights, etc. But, I want to buy these items from place(s) that will use the funds to support those causes (rather than random Etsy/Amazon sellers). Where should I shop (either online or in person in NYC)?
posted by melissasaurus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
A friend of mine actually just started a site for this purpose. It's about to launch soon. Just socks for now.
posted by monologish at 11:16 AM on November 23, 2016

The ACLU has an official store, as does the Human Rights Campaign. I see a lot of individual trans people's etsy stores linked on Twitter but I'm having trouble tracking down an org's gear.
posted by AFABulous at 11:29 AM on November 23, 2016

I'm ok with supporting Etsy stores owned by activists in marginalized groups, even if they're not associated with an org. So, if someone's work is known by activists who work in that space (i.e., they know the artist is committed to the cause), that works for me.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:44 AM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I appreciate the work that AK Press does, they're a worker run anarchist collective that does publishing and distribution and has a good wearables section. Left Bank Books used to do distribution but they don't anymore. They have a very good links page that is worth clicking through. Big fan of Crimethinc and they have good merch. Same with thoughtcrime ink.
posted by jessamyn at 12:20 PM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Justseeds is a worker-owned artist's coop. They're not raising money for a cause, but if you buy from them, you're supporting working artist/activists. They focus on printmaking, but they also have a handful of totes, t-shirts, etc., and the best bandanas.
posted by xylothek at 12:56 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Trans Lifeline t-shirt (this site is linked from their official Twitter)

Legalize Trans* shirts and buttons (although the "All Genders Matter" one is icky IMO)

Dream Deferred Designs - promotes intersectionality between BLM and Black LGBT communities
posted by AFABulous at 1:15 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Barrios Unidos does screen printing and is an all-around great organization that helps at-risk kids (mostly Latinx in the Santa Cruz/Pajaro Valley area). Pretty sure all of their stuff is printed on union-made textiles, too.
posted by stillmoving at 5:05 PM on November 23, 2016

This is a serious answer.

Find the absolutely cheapest place you can find (regardless of the company), then take the money you save and directly give it to groups/people you want to support. This is guaranteed to get you the result you want, unlike all other options here. Further, I posit it will maximize the amount of money you give to those groups/people as the cheapest place is the most cost-efficient, allowing you to donate more money rather than having it be spent on excessive business costs.

Money is fungible - it doesn't matter whether the money comes from you or the business you deal with. However, the business has an incentive to keep some of that money you give it for personal gain, while you (apparently) have no such incentive.
posted by saeculorum at 5:23 PM on November 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

Recent Ask: Show Me Beautiful and Radical Art That I Can Buy

I would also say to check in with local organizations/ groups in your area, honestly especially where women are involved in the organizing. There are usually folks who do make hand printed/sewn/crafted items and whatnot. Many use donated materials and put the money from sales directly towards services/campaigns etc.

I would always advise to get/stay local. You mentioned NYC? I'm hoping someone else actually local to there can speak to that specifically. I have been to Bluestockings- 100% volunteer-powered and collectively-owned radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan They host a bunch of events and have a bulletin board that may connect you with groups aligned with your interests. They also have an accessible resource guide for Radical Spaces in the area to further connect you directly!
posted by abhardcastle at 8:07 AM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone for the responses so far - definitely some great options to choose from! Here are some more that I've come across, in case it helps later readers of this question:

BLCK Store - Black Lives Matter apparel and pins (some apparel currently sold out); proceeds go to BLCK Foundation

Revel & Riot - LGBTQ nonprofit that sells apparel, totes, etc.

The African American Policy Forum sells Say Her Name apparel

Standing Rock tshirt from Shailene Woodley

Three Little Birds Tees - relevant Etsy shop owned by a black woman
posted by melissasaurus at 10:53 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

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