We are excited to announce our new ‘T-Shirt of the Month’ project, a new collaboration with our friends at dna merch, a social enterprise based in Berlin and ally of the transnational workers’ network, ExChains and the Humana Nova worker-owned textile co-operative.
What is the ‘T-Shirt of the Month’ project?
Our t-shirts of the month are literally shirts to make working class history. They do so in three ways:
- They help fund our work researching and promoting history from below across the various channels of Working Class History
- They help to sustain Humana Nova, a worker-owned textiles co-op in Croatia
- Through dna merch, part of the income generated will be used to support militant grassroots labour unions in South Asia.
How does it work?
The ‘T-Shirt of the Month’ project follows the idea of ‘prosumption’, a more sustainable and collective approach to production and consumption. dna merch creates exclusive shirt designs, inspired by events and stories from the Working Class History archive. Each shirt is strictly limited edition edition and made from 100 percent organic cotton: it will be available for pre-order for one month only and, afterwards, will be produced in the exact amount that were ordered that particular month! So, while you might have to wait a little longer to get your shirt, you’ll appreciate it for its quality and the people from the cooperative who made it possible!
Check out our latest T-Shirt of the Month design, browse our Collection in our online store here.
“In our transnational garment workers’ network we constantly learn from each others’ experiences along the supply chain and build strategies based on the collective knowledge we create. It is so great to see that our long-term supporters dna merch have partnered up with Working Class History, a truly inspiring source for all of us at ExChains, especially in India!”Dithhi Bhattacharya, New Delhi based coordinator for the ExChains network
Check out the links below to learn more about our collaborators:
See detailed size guide in the relevant product description. See these images below for examples of different fits. Important: Pure cotton t-shirts may shrink up to 5% both in width and length. In order to make it easier for you to choose the right size, the below models are wearing t-shirts that have been washed once.
Alessia is 1.72 m/5’8″ tall and wears a fitted S.
Fatih is 1.72 m/5’8″ and wears a unisex S.
Kai is 1.7 m/5’7″ and wears a unisex M.
Marina is 1.62 m/5’4″ and wears a fitted XS.
Regina is 1.64 m/5’5″ & wears a fitted 2XL.
Tompa is 2.04 m/6’9″ & wears a unisex 3XL.
Anne is 1.74 m/5’9″ and wears a unisex M.
Jenia is 1.65 m/5’5″ and wears a fitted S.
Marie is 1.86 m/6’1″ and wears a fitted M.
Mia is 1.65 m/5’5″ and wears a fitted M.
Renata is 1.52 m/5′ and wears a fitted S.
Vale is 1.8 m/6’2″ and wears a unisex L.
Our t-shirts are made from 100 percent organic cotton and are printed with water-based colours. We want your dna merch t-shirt to last you and that it’s not ruined after one or two washes. For this reason we have put together a few tips on how to best wash and take care of your new t-shirt.
Turn your t-shirts inside out before you wash
This protects the print and makes it last much longer.
Wash your t-shirts at max. 30° C or even better cold
There’s absolutely no reason to wash your t-shirt with hot water. Not unless you’re running a professional laundry in a hospital full of viruses and bacteria. Cold water will get your t-shirts clean just as much as hot water does. But it’s much gentler on the fabric and also saves a lot of energy.
Hang your t-shirts to dry
The worst enemy of printed garments is most likely high heat. If you want to use the dryer anyway please make sure you remove your t-shirts from the dryer before they are completely dry and hang them up or lay them out to finish drying.
Iron your t-shirts lukewarm
Too hot ironing also helps to ruin your new favourite t-shirt. And please: Never iron the printed area!
Never bleach or dry-clean your t-shirt
Just like not using hot water, so it goes with not using harsh cleaning products on your t-shirts. Instead, use a stain remover for spots.
Wash your t-shirts together with similar clothes
Last tip from the dna merch laundry department: Wash your t-shirts with clothes that not only have a similar colour but also a similar texture. For example, washing your t-shirt together with towels is nearly as pleasant for the t-shirt as rubbing a piece of sandpaper on your skin.
Our design for this month, November, features legendary Spanish civil war fighter and revolutionary Buenaventura Durruti, who was killed in November 1936. It includes his quotation: “No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie [capitalist class] sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.”
The T-Shirt of the Month for December by multidisciplinary Afro-Indigenous Artivist Renata Doré was inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the women like Rosa Parks and Claudette Covin whose activism helped bring it about. The boycott led to the desegregation of public transport in Montgomery, Alabama. The design includes the starting and ending date of the boycott and aims to create visibility for Black women through images that value the collective memories of the Afro-diasporic population.
Renata Doré dialogues with the poetics of decolonization through visual and urban arts, cyberactivism, Black theatre and audiovisuals. She focuses on generating visibility for black women through images that value the collective memories of the Afro-diasporic population. She currently studies in Cuba, specialising in TV and New Media. Proceeds from this month’s design were also shared with Abahlali baseMjondolo, a shack-dwellers’ direct action movement in South Africa.
Our January design celebrated the life of revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg, who was murdered by right-wing paramilitaries in January 1919 in Germany. It featured a quotation from an article she wrote just a few hours before her death, responding to claims by the governing social democrats that order had been restored in Berlin after a massacre of revolutionary workers: “‘Order prevails in Berlin!’ You foolish lackeys! Your ‘order’ is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will ‘rise up again, clashing its weapons,’ and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing:
I was, I am, I shall be!”
Artwork by Julian / Semi-Legal-Art
Our Feb design was created by young Mexican artist Julio Mendoza, and celebrated Indigenous resistance to Spanish colonialism in February 1517. The back of the shirt represents a Maya warrior wearing a jaguar helmet. For the Maya, the jaguar represented power, ferocity and valour; the embodiment of aggressiveness. The Maya word muuk’ means fuerza in Spanish respectively – strength or force in English. The front of the shirt features a corn in the shape of an arrow referring to famous Maya leader Nachán Can. It is said that when Spanish invaders sent a messenger to get tribute from Nachán Can, he sent back a message saying that the only tribute he would give to the Spanish would be turkeys in the shapes of spears and corn in the shape of arrows. The arrow also features the year of the battle against Hernandez de Cordova, who set out from Cuba to Mexico in February 1517 in order to find Indigenous peoples to enslave. But he was defeated by Maya fighters and forced to retreat, soon dying from his wounds. Proceeds from this month also helped fund projects for Indigenous autonomy.
This month’s design celebrates the mass strike against fascism in Italy in March 1944. By Cinzia Argazzi, a decorator and tattoo artist from Bologna, it is inspired by the factories of the industrialized North of Italy and by the artistic style in vogue at the time, and features a play on words, using the words both “resist” and “exist” in Italian. With the design Cinzia “wanted to convey the message of power that the people can have when they are united and in solidarity! R*Esistiamo! Let’s resist to exist!”
April’s design commemorates the epic struggle of mining communities in Britain against the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher in 1984-5. Miners went on strike against pit closures, while large numbers of women, especially miners’ wives, played active roles supporting the strike and enabling it to continue for almost a year until it was eventually defeated. When Thatcher died in April 2013, street parties broke out around the country, especially in former mining communities, and the song “Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead” reached #1 in the charts.
Designed by Zoran Svilar from Novi Sad in Serbia. Zoran works as an Art director and illustrator with the Serbian edition of Le Monde diplomatique newspaper, ROAR magazine, VICE and many more.
This month’s design commemorated the Bavarian beer riots of 1844. These broke out after the government implemented a new tax on beer. Workers took to the streets, battling police and destroying property. The army was called in, but a cavalry regiment refused to attack the demonstrators. After four days of disorder, the King issued an order reducing the price of beer, which restored calm to the area.
This design is by Munich-based rebel artist Torsten Mühlbach. Torsten works and experiments with a wide variety of techniques and materials. This is what he has to say about his great beer coaster design in memory of the beer riots in Bavaria which happened between 1 May and 5 May 1844:
“After the revolution is before the revolution.
After the high is before the high.
Every great story begins with:
‘Please hold my beer for a second…’
On that note, cheers everyone!”
The design features a modified Munich beer mat, and reference to the Münchner Reinheitsgebot (the famous Munich beer purity law of 1487) has been changed to read “Freiheit” – “Freedom”.
It celebrates the life and work of Greek actor, feminist, poet and revolutionary, Katerina Gogou, who was born in June 1940. She opposed the military dictatorship, and later supported workers’ struggles and the burgeoning LGBT+ movement in the 1980s.
It commemorated the first ever usage of the word “scab”, meaning “strikebreaker”, being used in print for the first time in July 1777, which became one of the most important words in the working class vocabulary. By the late 16th century the word “scab” had come to be used as an English insult, somewhat akin to “lowlife” or “scoundrel”. But at some point it began to be used by workers in industrial disputes as a label for workers who crossed picket lines and worked while their colleagues were striking for better pay or conditions. It first appeared in print in the Bonner & Middleton’s Bristol Journal, during a strike of shoemakers, where it reported “The Conflict would not been [sic] so sharp had not there been so many dirty Scabs”. On scabs, author Jack London famously wrote the following: “After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.”
This month’s design was by Indonesian illustrator Nanu.