Politics and fashion dont always go together, but as fashion can be used as a great means of communicating a message, it seems fitting that Wikileaks and dutch design studio, Metahaven have created a line of t-shirts and scarves currently being auctioned on ebay.
Playing a massive political role in 2011, Wikileaks has put the spotlight on many uncomfortable truths, and shed light on a variety of sketchy agreements. Just as Wikileaks began to kick up quite a fuss, Wikileaks creator, Julian Assange found himself a bit of legal trouble being accused of rape in Sweden. He is preparing for extradition but recently won the right to appeal against the decision. In an effort to aid Wikileaks current financial situation, all proceeds will go to Wikileaks.
Initially developed as a contribution to the Gwangju Design Beinnale 2011, held in Gwangju, Korea, they are not only being auctioned on ebay but are also on display at the MOTI Museum of the Image in The Netherlands.
I had the pleasure of reading in depth about this project recently in an article published by Dazed Digital. Metahaven says they got involved with this project beacuse what Wikileaks needed most was merchandising. This would not only open up options for people to contribute to the cause, but also allow followers to gain a tangible connection with the brand.
The overall idea really resonated with me, because I see so much talent on a daily basis, and come across a variety of note-worthy non-profits/causes that I believe could greatly benefit by coming together to develop graphic tees, and fashionable apparel that supporters actually want to wear.
As it specifically relates to the Wikileaks situation, Metahavens, design inspiration draws not only from ideas their core audience will recognize while embodying what global culture consists of when boiled down and in the form of products. As you can see many of the scarves have an abstract pattern, large type (Wikileaks) and hmmm, really seem familiar. Their designs draw from the idea of street sellers, selling fake name brands and the consumers who purchase them.
The scarves, some of which feature camouflage patterns, represent the relationship between transparency and opacity as it relates to Wikileaks and in my opinion the relationship Wikileaks has with the government. Speech and journalism are free and legal, but watch out for that gorgeous girl in the red dress that comes along just as you start to make some noise. Then you find yourself facing rape charges in Sweden. (just an opinion based on watching too many movies, blame Hollywood!).
A small sidenote: I couldn’t find any link to the merchandise on the Wikileaks website, and without explanation its not currently auctioning on Ebay. Still love the idea, but a little disappointed.
A bit about the pics (Dazed Digital):
Concept and design: Metahaven
Photography: Meinke Klein @ UNIT c.m.a.
Styling: Sonny Groo
Hair/make-up: Chiao Li Hsu for Clinique @ House of Orange
Model: Iris van Berne @ CODE Management
Photography assistent: Lathifa Lesteluhu