In the latest instance of designers using the #MeToo movement to sell garments, the denim brand Denimcratic has launched a collection called We Wear the Pants.
The limited edition line consists of items laser-etched with an estimated 30 newspaper stories about sexual harassment in the workplace, from news outlets including the The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe.
There are two denim pieces in the collection – a denim jacket and skinny jeans – and a top that reads Want: Women who wear the pants accompanied by a picture of a woman unfastening her trousers.
The designers behind Denimcratic, Gabriella Meyer and Marta Goldschmied, met by chance in 2017, after Goldschmied, daughter of Italian denim godfather Adriano Goldschmied, left a jeans business she had helped found because of alleged sexual harassment by Made Golds majority business owner, Gary Brifil.
The two women met at a denim festival, and Goldschmieds eye was caught by a denim wall hanging lasered with news stories about womens rights. It had been created by Meyer, an art and design student at the University of Michigan who was involved in womens empowerment issues.
Goldschmied told the New York Times that she saw Meyers work as the answer for how to address the things I had been dealing with.
With the We Wear the Pants collection, Meyer said: We wanted to be clear about this being an institutional issue, not just about individual bad actors.
I liked the idea of using denim, which has in recent history been the fabric of revolution, but that started out as very much a mans uniform. Plus, the denim industry is still very male dominated.
The collection, shaped by politics and current events, is already inviting criticism on Twitter. The jeans only go up to a UK size 14 (US size 10) which doesnt seem particularly denimcratic.
The price of the garments will also serve to exclude certain buyers. The denim jacket alone costs £282.50 ($375).
Like sure, make clothes that are political (tho as @amandamull points out, how progressive can u be when you dont sell above size 8); but printing headlines about abusers into clothes for women to wear feels like youre asking them to be walking billboards for pain?
— rachel syme (@rachsyme) June 14, 2018
The idea of wearing clothes printed with Harvey Weinsteins name and the trauma of rape survivors seems distasteful to many, even if it is supposed to make a positive political statement. One Twitter user described it as making women into walking billboards for pain.
Despite 10% of all sales from the collection going to the National Womens Law Centre, Denimcratic are still using the trauma of sexual assault survivors to sell clothes and make a profit.
Weve reached out to Gabriella Meyer and Marta Goldschmied for comment, and will update this story if we hear back.