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Brand Case Studies: prinkshop

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The prinkshop team have issues and they’re the first to admit it. Really big issues, ranging from sex trafficking and education to homelessness and marriage equality. And what do they do about these issues? Well they make pretty cool tee-shirts, totes and notebooks to highlight them.

This is a "cause-centric community" that originates from the prinkshop base in East Village, New York. Once they’ve found an issue they want to shout about, they find an organisation working within the cause, partner with them, create advocacy graphics about the topic at hand and then donate 30% of their profits to the institution. We love it.

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It’s a super simple ethos, something prinkshop founder, Pamela Bell, terms "creative capitalism". They make it. You buy it. They give to the causes and you become a voice for them. And by creating clothing and accessories people want to wear; a platform is given to hundreds of different social issues.

Prior to prinkshop, Pamela was a founding partner of the global, iconic brands Kate Spade and Jack Spade where she headed up production management, retail store development, ecommerce, merchandising and more. But after she and her partners sold the company, Pamela was free to build her prinkshop dreams.

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prinkshop’s offerings tell a visual story through clever wordplay, impressive visuals, and question-promoting graphics. The whole process is a wonderful blurring of humanity and graphic design. And one that creates jobs and endorses the manufacturing business in the USA.

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The brand’s motto is: Wear what you care about and there are plenty of different causes to support on their online shop. Their Bang Bang Bang tee-shirt promotes the end of gun violence, 1973 celebrates the year a landmark victory in the US Supreme Court ensured good news for women’s reproductive rights and (our personal favourite) You Are Not The Boss Of V supports PYPO, a charity working to fight sexual assaults on women.

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All prinkshop products are screen-printed, a process heavily ingrained in movements of advocacy and something Pamela is keen to explain. Little did we know, screen-printing played a key role in the 1968 student protests in Paris, as well as when Berkeley students fought the Vietnam War. Screen-printing for activism works because of its quick results and simple processes. A history that is now channeled into all of the brand's designs.

Using fashion as a form of activism in this way is smart. It’s about bringing social responsibility back the consumer. Who could (and would) otherwise walk into any number of high-street stores and pick up clothing adorned with ambiguous slogans. And hey, a tee-shirt looks good with everything.

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