he year of 2020 has definitely been a challenging one on many fronts. But, one thing that’s really stood out, especially since COVID-19 reared its ugly head earlier this year, is how art and creativity have helped carry us through it all. It’s helped us raise money for those in need, keep local businesses afloat, spread powerful messages, celebrate graduations in unique ways, and given us much needed distractions from the seriousness of the times.
Streetwear and decorated apparel, in general, has absolutely been a huge source of this creativity and support. Many in the streetwear community are among those, who, even while struggling, have used their popularity and creativity to put a smile on people’s faces, while trying to stay in business at the same time.
The Social Distancing Club
Take, for example, a new streetwear company “The Social Distancing Club,” out of Los Angeles, CA. They spawned from a desire to turn social distancing into something that felt cool and positive vs something negative, in an effort to encourage people to do it. The two founders also started the line out as a way to help the World Central Kitchen, a group working across the country on safely distributing individually packaged fresh meals to communities in need. For every piece of apparel (which consists of t-shirts, crop tops, hoodies and of course, face masks) that is sold, five dollars will go to the WCK.
Another popular brand, HUF, started creating capsule collections that benefit healthcare workers, small businesses and local employees, who have been affected by COVID-19. There are 3 versions of the collection, each being dedicated to workers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
British streetwear label, Palace, transformed their logo to support the efforts of the National Health Service, by switching it’s color to the NHS blue. Using the new logo, they created a line of apparel that will see 100% of the proceeds go to helping healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Fundraising For Social Justice
Social justice has also been at the center of streetwear more recently, with brands like “A Cold Wall,” out of the UK, making a £25,000 donation to support black independently owned businesses; Alife, out of NYC, raising $18,500 in sales of their “Justice for Ahmaud Arbery Hoodie,” which will be donated to his mother; and Savage x Fenty planning on donating to four different organizations, those being Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, Color of Change, Movement for Black Lives, and The Bail Project.
What It All Means
The events of 2020 have made society much more hyperaware than it was yesterday. Large reductions in pollution, due to shelter in place orders, for example, have made it abundantly clear to many people of our impact on the environment. And, the recent social justice movements across the country have influenced brands, big and small, to start taking action.
Because of that and the many other social causes we’ve all been supporting these past few months, consumers will most certainly be looking for more apparel made by companies, who are socially conscious, respect human rights and are practicing sustainability.
The actions we’ve seen from the streetwear community and other major brands, during these turbulent times, are a reflection of the power a piece of apparel can have on society and the importance of making sure your brand stands for something more than just making money. Soon, that could be the defining factor between your business surviving, or fading into the sunset.
(Cover Photo by Tom Roberts on Unsplash)