ALLRIOT., or ALLRIOT political streetwear, is an independent, London-based clothing company specialising in political t-shirts and apparel centred on themes of social awareness, protests, human rights movements, liberal and identity politics, as well as influential political figureheads.
Founded by Margarita Goroskhevich in 2012, the company encompass what it calls “an alternative to logo-obsessed mass culture”, often employing a form of fashion culture-jamming through the use of slogans and screen prints, many which highlight sociopolitical issues faced by millennials, the post-capitalist generation, social activists, artists, the LGBT community and the liberal Left.
ALLRIOT's founder Margarita Goroskhevich began her career in fashion design after graduating in 2006 from the London College of Fashion. She originally started working as a menswear retail designer for many high street brands such as Marks & Spenser, Ben Sherman, Primark, C&A, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
After several years of designing clothes for other companies, she became disillusioned with working in the fashion industry, stating that it was an "artificial manufacturing of demand and consumption" and that the sector was unsustainable and unethical. Shortly afterwards, she created the ALLRIOT brand in order to break away from commercialist trends and logos.
ALLRIOT began its operations in 2012 at its London studio after Goroskhevich joined two unofficial cofounders, who used the pseudonyms Karl Sharks (logistics' manager and head of the "Power to the People" department) and Randy Gandhi (Robes and T-shirts' production manager), to start basic production lines for screen prints. At the time, the company did not have an official logo, but manufactured based on the content of its' screen designs.
Speaking about the premise behind ALLRIOT, Gandhi stated that,
Allriot fans know that wearing one of our t-shirts is an experience: it’s guaranteed to spice up your day, although you never quite know how hot it’s going to get. Most people just laugh, and that’s the reaction we’re striving for. The act of ridiculing ‘the system’ takes away all its power. It’s that simple.
In an interview with Impakter, an online publication dedicated to the millennial generation, journalist Mohamed Akef stated that, "unambiguously bold, each one of [ALLRIOT's] shirts stakes a claim or message for the world to see, on topics ranging from philosophy to literature to politics."
The team fortuitously began raising money for the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot, whose guerrilla performance at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour landed three of its members (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich) jail sentences for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”, according to Russian authorities.
The group began manufacturing t-shirts to support the band and later partnered with The Voice Project and CrowdRise to promote the initiative, eventually raising $843 via the online campaign and $1500 in total; the second-largest contribution.
In an interview with T-shirt Magazine, Goroskhevich mentioned that,
…none of us had any background in activism or politics. All we had were the seeds of a vision to make a positive change in the world; that was it. At the time, Pussy Riot were awaiting trial, and we designed some shirts to raise money for them. Our designs were selling faster than we could make them, and we were working 18-hour days to keep up with the demand. Our enthusiasm kept us going for months – we were just psyched that people actually bought the things we were making.
All Riot produces several product lineups, each with a distinctive theme or slogan, and oftentimes mixes a blend of humour and wit with street art, caricatures, and retro stencil graffiti. Many concentrate on contemporary issues such as police brutality, income and gender inequality, islamophobia, Western imperialism, civil rights, leftist, anarchist, and socialist politics, Palestine, environmentalism, political apathy, drone warfare, Wikileaks, the NSA, mainstream media, as well as LGBTQI rights and sexuality.
All Riot's Thought Criminals collection advocates the legacies of famous political dissenters from the past and present. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, George Orwell, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Angela Davis, Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, Mahatma Gandhi, Virginia Woolf, Harvey Milk and others have been included in previous t-shirt renderings.
All Riot adheres to a credo of sustainable production, in which all of its t-shirts are WRAP certified, free of harmful chemicals and substances and sweatshop-free, and that all t-shirts are manufactured using local British suppliers. It has also adopted a gender-neutral sizing chart to accommodate all body types and conserve resources.
ALLRIOT has collaborated with a number of international charities, contests, and events.
In May 2015, they partnered with Manifest:Justice, a Los Angeles-based contest advocating community building, social justice and human rights. The event saw over 1,500 artist submissions, was judged by celebrities such as Russell Simmons, John Legend, and Shepard Fairey, and sponsored by Amnesty International and Sons&Brothers. They also participated in fundraising efforts for the Save Shaker Aamer campaign whilst the activist was 100 days into his hunger strike at the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
ALLRIOT has also fundraised for the Ferguson Legal Defence Fund, CharityStream, as well as UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and often promotes social-democratic and Green politics. In 2016, it contributed two designs in support of US Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Green Party leader Jill Stein, in addition to Wikileaks and Julian Assange for fundraising purposes.
As of 2017, the company has released t-shirts denouncing US President Donald Trump, his unconstitutional muslim ban and plans for a US-Mexico border wall. They have also openly condemned former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Conversely, they have promoted the Pardon Snowden campaign, Women’s March on Washington, and the 2017 October Revolution centenary. ALLRIOT also assisted the online fashion publication Muslim Girl to promote their Muslim Women's Day campaign, in order to raise awareness about Islamophobia after Trump's electoral victory.
Since 2014, ALLRIOT has come under fire from UK authorities for its content and was subsequently blocked from several Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
In October 2016, the Latter Day Saints' LDSAnswers website sharply criticised ALLRIOT in an open letter to BYU sociology chair Rick Miller after he gave away free t-shirts featuring the slogan "the class struggle is real", which was meant to be a joke for his students, and alluded to ALLRIOT's use of anarchist and communist slogans in its own products.
Rick Miller responded with the following comments,
The t-shirt with a picture of Karl Marx and the caption “The Class Struggle is Real” was chosen as part of our social media promotion because the faculty felt that it was a good joke. It was a play on words, a pun, with class struggle referring to the struggle of students trying to get an A in classes at BYU. Our students got the joke, and our faculty got the joke.
We weren’t making a statement about Karl Marx; we were trying to get students to start looking at our social media in order to create a better learning community among our students and faculty. This was supposed to be a little fun activity with our students, not a serious discussion about the merits of Karl Marx and whether or not his writings should be taught at BYU. [Consequently], we deleted those comments.
- "ALLRIOT Political T-shirts: Ethical Production". ALLRIOT. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
- "Allriot | IAmTheTrend". iamthetrend.com. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "All Riot Interview". T-Shirt Magazine. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
- "London Based Streetwear Brand Bring Guts, Style and Humour to Politically Minded Apparel". News Powered by Cision. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "Clothing a Rebellion: An interview with AllRiot - Impakter". Impakter. 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
- "Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in jail". RT International. 17 Aug 2012. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
- "ALLRIOT T-shirts fundraiser". CrowdRise. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "ALLRIOT REVIEWS". ALLRIOT. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- "A L L R I O T (@allriot_tshirts) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- "A L L R I O T (@allriottshirts) • Instagram photos and videos". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- Aston, Tess (2016-12-13). "Don't Support the Sell Outs!". Tess Aston. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- Murphy, Kelly (2017-03-29). "Allriot Releases Spring / Summer 2017 Line - Indie Minded". Indie Minded. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "SAVE SHAKER AAMER : Act on Day 100 of the Hunger Strike at Guantanamo". saveshaker.org. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "Printed fashion industry remains tight-lipped on Trumps immigration ban". Garment Printing. 31 Jan 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- Weiss, Suzannah. "7 Ways You Can Make Sure Muslim Women's Day Gets The Recognition It Deserves". Bustle. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "www.allriot.com". www.blocked.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
- Answers, LDS (2016-10-29). "An Open Letter to Rick Miller, BYU Sociology Department Chair - LDS Answers". LDS Answers. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
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