Coachella of 2017 I was with my bro Aaron sitting in a parking lot at a Ralph's due to the fact that we weren't able to actually hit the Coachella campgrounds yet due to us being too early. During that time I came across a dry cleaners business that had their typical illustrations that you see on basically all old school dry cleaners windows. Since I started Bricks & Wood I've had this eye for noticing things that have an ampersand in them.
This particular ampersand I saw at the time was again, on the window of this dry cleaners which had a illustration of a white woman which under her reads "Alterations & Repairs". Which is just marketing for the services they provide to the people driving or walking by. I remember seeing that & telling my boy Aaron "I'm going to flip that & have it say Bricks & Wood but I'm going to make the characters a black woman, asian man & a latino woman." He agreed that it was a good idea so I walked out my car, took a photo of the three displays & sent it to my boy Kev to get a quote on what the design might cost & the timeline.
The original photos & inspiration taken on my iphone prior to sending to Kev.
Now I wish I had the original conversation that Kev & I had to share the rawness of this concept but since that fossil is missing I'll tell you this - the important reason why I decided to change the ethnicity of the characters displayed in these illustrations was to most importantly modernize the labor to the type of people you'll find behind those counters of your typical dry cleaners. I'm sure at one point in America there was more of the heritage that if you owned a location you were also the manager, sales associate, & whatever else position you needed to be to make sure your business was ran in a way only you could control the quality of service.
Now in my America, from 1993 until now. Not once have I ever been to a dry cleaners & came across a caucasian worker anywhere to be found in the facility. Not answering phones, not doing any tailoring, not opening a door, not washing clothes, not folding clothes, literally anything. The times I did see those people within the facility, guess what they were doing...dropping off or picking up their clothes. Now this is not to say that there's no dry cleaner business out there that doesn't have white workers doing the labor. Sure there's plenty, but as a reminder, this is my brand & this is my way of telling my story. I just choose to share it openly with hopes that people can find these things relatable.
Now after designs were completed & invoices were paid I then needed to sit with the design & make sure that I presented this illustration & story correctly. It's taken me a full year to finally feel comfortable with how I'm going about this presentation & that just goes to show how much care & particularity I have about literally everything that I've done thus far with Bricks & Wood. Generally a design like this from your typical streetwear brand it would be titled either "Laundry" or "Cleaners" Design. Now I will admit for non-confusion purposes Kev & I did call it "Laundry" just so we knew what we were working with when it came to sending files back & forth but I then came across these two titles that gave this design a lot more power, a deeper story, & more relevancy than just another graphic for a t-shirt.
Initially I came up with something very minimal titled "Together". Now for me, together was a symbolism of bringing different races & more so minorities to work together & build together. Pretty simple & straight forward right? I was pretty sold on that concept for a good year but then as of recent I came up with a different interpretation for the design that kept that same message but gave it even more broadness.
"Made In America" - Feel free to also call it "Made In The USA" as well but either way I had to make it a little more political & here's why. Now to confirm, I am not very political at all. I know bare minimum to political topics though I am not oblivious to what goes on in this country or the rest of the world. I also know what's good & bad for my own being which then I know how to proceed when discussing or voting with or against certain laws, just to put that out there. Now Made In America was inspired by the labor that's put in behind the sense when it comes to producing garments to be more specific.
Now I know more than anything that this form of production is produced by none other than cultures outside of white communities. All the sweatshops in LA all of them employ Spanish ethnics to do the labor for the smallest to biggest apparel companies. Even the companies who strictly or pride themselves to having their garments made in America, the cultures behind that machinery that make the clothing that damn near all of us wear on a daily bases are made from citizens where even if they're from America themselves, the root of their culture isn't. That blood in them is from soils outside of America. This is me paying homage to those folks. Not to disregard the creatives in the world like myself, but also in the same breath not to forgetting about the hard, long hours that are put in by the ones who are getting their hands dirty for another person's vision to come to life.
What's made in America is not made by Americans and it's about time that we as human beings share that togetherness & awareness to the work being put in. There's some things that a lot of Americans would only pay to get done rather than DIY. So if that's the case, lets make sure we don't take all the credit for the amazing things that these hard working folks do for us so that we feel glorified as owners, designers, or whatever our form of "superior" titles may be.
America was originally meant to be a place that was all for one & one for all - with all the separation of today going on due to who's currently in office, I want to personally thank those hard working individuals for picking up after America's mess & doing the dirty work for "White America". I refuse to let you go unnoticed, I refuse to take credit for your hard work even if it is my original design or idea. This is Team America & we're in this together to result in one thing & that's to support ourselves & or families. We love you & there's more than enough for us all to share.