Change is a-coming in the UK, with elections and Brexit negotiations heating up. Everyone has a lot on their mind – and a lot to say. Now you can share your message with the world by wearing our new, exclusive limited-edition T-shirts.
An army of street and graffiti artists have lined up to create exclusive limited-edition protest T-shirts for The Big Issue Shop’s brand new #WEARABIGISSUE campaign. They have made designs that speak about issues that matter to them, and we know they matter to Big Issue readers too.
It’s exciting to see artists signing up to create one-off pieces that mean so much to them
London design studio +rehabstudio enlisted designers to come up with the concepts for these thought-provoking garments. The artists are Paul Insect, The Artful Dodger, Hayden Kays, Joe Webb, Ceal Warnants and Jessica Wilson, and Mau Mau. All the artists gave their time and talent to create these designs for us free of charge. Find out about all the designs in the artists’ own words, below, and see the T-shirts, photographed by top fashion photographer Marc Hayden and Hannah Mae Clark.
“T-shirts have been a statement of change for generations,” points out +rehabstudio’s Rob Bennett. “People are more socially aware than ever before, and we wanted to help The Big Issue create a brand that mixes cutting-edge art with social causes to create highly wearable, sharable, limited-edition fashion statements. It’s great to be under the umbrella of The Big Issue during its 25th anniversary year, and it’s exciting to see artists signing up to create one-off pieces that mean so much to them.”
There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.
Each limited-edition design is available in men’s and women’s T-shirt style, with either roll or plain sleeves. They are priced £30, with £3.50 post and packaging each on standard delivery. They are exclusively available to buy through The Big Issue Shop at bigissueshop.com – and remember, by shopping at The Big Issue Shop, your purchase has a social echo, helping us support social enterprises that support others.
Managing director of The Big Issue, Russell Blackman, says: “We are delighted to be working with some of the most respected street artists in the UK for our #wearabigissue exclusive T-shirt range, available at The Big Issue Shop. There is plenty of change coming in the UK and people have a lot on their mind. This limited-edition #wearabigissue range of garments will allow people to share what they feel passionate about and the change they want to see.
We are calling this ‘shopping with a social echo’
“Recently launched, The Big Issue Shop offers a platform for social trading that will make social and ethical shopping a truly accessible option for consumers, giving them the opportunity to use their spending power to make a positive difference to the world we live in.
“The Big Issue Shop sells its own branded products as well as those from other social businesses, meaning every item you buy has a positive social outcome. This could be through what the product is made from, who it is made by or where the profits end up. We are calling this ‘shopping with a social echo’. Every purchase through The Big Issue Shop puts people and planet first.”
There has never been a more stylish way to say what you mean. Buy yours now at The Big Issue Shop.
THE ARTISTS TELL US ABOUT #WEARABIGISSUE…
Paul Insect: “My Big Issue is climate change. In a massive act of ‘brand vandalism’, just two days before the launch of the United Nations COP21 Climate Conference last year, 600 anti-advertisement posters were installed in outdoor media spaces throughout the streets of Paris. The posters displayed artwork from over 80 artists from 19 different countries, including this piece.”
A Dee AKA The Artful Dodger: “My Big Issue is I’m not a politician, I’m not an organisation or a group of people trying to blah, blah, blah – it’s just me. A whisper in the dark, an echo in the wind; either listen or ignore. The design here is from a collection I call Fight Music. They’re theme songs and anthems.”
Hayden Kays: “My Big Issue is mental health because the mind is the most beautiful, powerful, yet dangerously fragile thing we own. We must look after our own and each other’s. I hope to represent the tightrope we all walk between being mentally well and unwell. I hope this T-shirt starts a conversation about mental health that otherwise may have gone unsaid.”
Joe Webb: “My Big Issue is I wanted people to stop and think about the innocent young lives being taken by terrible wars, in particular in Syria at the moment. The design of the aeroplane dropping sweets in place of bombs is a direct comment on how children are being affected by war. The sweets are a representation of the bombs and children at the same time. The original idea came from the story of the “Berlin Candy Bomber” – at the end of WW2 candy was dropped from a bomber to children. So it’s also an image of hope that peace will come.”
Ceal Warnants: “My Big Issue is the speed at which today’s society forces children to grow up, drawing parallels between ‘then’ and ‘now’. Youth angsts are the same but pressures are different. Basing my work on vintage illustrations lends it authenticity and highlights distinctions between two time frames and different growing pains. I enjoy the ‘double take’ that my work often provokes. People think it is sweet and nostalgic, that’s what draws them in. The dichotomy of the humorous and sinister makes hard subjects easier to talk about. Hopefully people will be intrigued by my subversion, react and pause to think. It would be great if they started a discussion with their own children about the pressures of the world.”
Jessica Wilson: “My Big Issue is the hike in rent prices.I have been in London for 10 years. People who have been here longer must have seen a lot bigger change. Small flats in my old area are now being sold for 10 times the price they were. Whether it’s a good or bad thing it’s happening and people should be aware.”
Photos: Marc Hayden and Hannah Mae Clark