Back in 2013, Randi Gloss was attending the 50th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington when she saw something that made her take a breath. Amongst the countless references to the anniversary of Martin Luther’s King’s landmark ‘I have a dream’ speech, was one that simply read ‘Emmett & Amadou & Sean & Oscar & Trayvon. More than just black faces in tragic places.’
“That evening, lying on my living room floor, I grabbed an orange Post-It note and sketched out the most basic t-shirt outline with those five names plus Jordan Davis. A few months later, the idea still lingered in my head”.
Fast-track to 2014, and Gloss launched a pop-up exhibition that showcased her t-shirts which were slowly gaining traction. Taking the elements of Experimental Jetset’s original ‘Helvetica &&&’ design used to denote the members of The Beatles, Gloss listed the names to create impact and shed a light in simple terms, amidst the online deluge of think pieces, discussions and media coverage.
It’s a message that’s hitting home. To date, she has sold over 3,000 pieces from her ‘And Counting Collection’ which includes t-shirts, posters and crewneck sweatshirts.
“Glossrags is making a declaration that Black Lives Matter,” she says, “by memorialising our brothers and sisters whose lives were unjustly taken because of the colour of their skin, and whose promise for justice was not always granted”.
For Gloss, the importance of investing in her community was key to the brand’s success, and for her, Glossrags is one solution to a problem. She says, “On the economic side, Glossrags revives the concept of keeping money within our community by supporting a black-owned business that produces pro-black goods and works within black communities.”
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