Nine Fundraising T-Shirts That Join the Great Tradition of Radical Streetwear

On the one hand, if you have few extra bucks, the best way to join the fight against police brutality is to make a direct donation. But you can vote in other ways with your wallet, too—by supporting black-owned brands, or by steering your dollars to goods for a cause. One way to do that: the humble, radical graphic tee. Streetwear labels, skate brands, and even a few fashion lines have a long history of practicing meaningful activism through T-shirts, from Katharine Hamnett’s “58% DON’T WANT PERSHING” shirt, which the designer wore to a meeting with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to protest the proliferation of nuclear missiles in Europe, to Supreme’s 2001 T-shirt commemorating the death of anti-globalization activist Carlo Giuliani. T-shirt activism has more recently been one of fashion’s more questionable practices—an easy box to check, satisfying the industry’s halfhearted calls for change—but a number of GQ’s favorite creators are making meaningful statements that speak to this moment, and the proceeds from which go to meaningful causes. A great T-shirt is a powerful way to rep a message, a graphic battle cry that comes with you everywhere. And some of those clothing items are destined to become small testaments to this moment of painful and monumental change.

Here are seven that carry the best of the tradition forward, and whose makers are donating their proceeds to worthy causes, from Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp to bail funds in cities across the country.

All your streetwear favorites—Fear of God, Noah, Awake, Union, Just Don, Pyer Moss, and more—came together for this limited edition T-shirt that commemorates George Floyd (“GF”), and raises money for the Gianna Floyd Fund for George’s daughter.

The proceeds from this tee from GQ favorite Denim Tears, featuring James Baldwin’s famous words on looting, will be donated to the Know Your Rights Camp, a group founded by Colin Kaepernick to educate and mobilize a new generation of leaders, and is hiring defense attorneys for anyone arrested while protesting police brutality.

Brain Dead teamed up with musician Blood Orange, also known as Dev Hynes, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Black-Owned Business Relief Fund and the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). They’ve already raised half a million dollars.

Designer Raffaella Hanley’s T-shirt features a gnarly image of a demon in protest of militaristic force: “IMPROVING THE CLIMATE FOR BIG BUSINESS.” Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Brooklyn Bail Fund.

“Such a pretty planet, such an ugly world.” The funds from the sale of this shirt will be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The proceeds from purchases of a jacket, zine, and various tees from Ignored Prayers’ usual product offerings will be donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

The funds from Turnstile Tribe’s “Rainbow” tee will go to the LGBTQ Freedom Fund—and 100% of the funds from all other sales will go to bail and legal funds in Washington, D.C.

“Yellow Peril Supports Black Power” is the message, and all the profits will go to the Anti-Police Terror Project, a nonprofit that fights criminal injustice and state terror.

A new classic from two old favorites. Funds will be split between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Black Lives Matter, M4BL, and the National Bail Out (though the designers may pivot the funds to other organizations if one is overwhelmed with support).



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