exploring sexism and exclusivity in streetwear
+ a super-easy punk t-shirt diy
“A brand that’s considered cool shouldn’t be one that’s fundamentally excluding people,” says Cassidy George, the artist behind Renegade NYC—part unisex clothing line, part zine, and part street art campaign.
“You really do have to fight to represent a brand that could give the middle finger to anybody,” says George from the window-side perch in her New York apartment, which was once Andy Warhol's storage unit. An ardent fan of streetwear, she often feels alienated from the culture around it.
George also notes a spirit of sexism that lingers behind the clothing racks. “I’ve known girls who haven’t been sold hats in stores because they were girls," she says. “I think we should try to redefine what we consider cool in terms of brands: things can be interesting and niche without marginalizing people.”
Renegade NYC, George’s foray into streetwear design, is a natural progression from her own feminist zines and street art campaigns, which explore '80s New York DIY culture and the riot grrrl movement of the '90s. “I printed my first zine at my university library, and I left it on every newsstand; I left it in public restrooms," she says. "I didn’t even care; I left it everywhere I could. If you have something to say, just go out there and say it.”
Click through the gallery for Renegade NYC’s Gif Guide on how to cut the S*&% out of your t-shirts!
Fold the bottom of the t-shirt to achieve desired length and cut along the fold. Cut off the sleeves and the collar along their seams. Stretch out the collar, sleeves, and bottom of the shirt. Cut vertical lines up both sides of the shirt (but stop a bit before you reach your sleeves!) Reconnect the two vertical slices with safety pins. Make strategic cuts and embellish them with safety pins. Take a lighter and burn a spot until it turns brown. Remove the flame and use your finger to push out the burnt fabric, leaving behind a unique hole every time. Spray paint a design of your choosing. And voila! Zine in progress