Parsons School of Design (USA) / Tutor: Kimberly Jenkins (2017)
The United States of America: supposedly the land of the free, where all men are created equal with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, unless labeled as a criminal. After committing a crime, one’s debt to society is never paid. In the United states we separate those who have committed a crime from the masses, as an untouchable group. What effect will this have on the identity of an individual, who now bears the stigmatized baggage of being a criminal, a felon, or a public enemy? What does it truly mean to be a criminal, or punished for a crime in the United States. The United States, where you have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, until you are branded as a as something less than human.
This project was designed to challenge the ideas and foundations of the United States ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, when applied to the dissolve of personal identity within criminality and the prison system. For this thesis I have created a fashion collective called rebranded, which aims to redefine and reclaim the labels of post-incarceration identity. Rebranded is a fashion collective made up of designers, artist, photographers, and dreamers working in collaboration to create prison reform. Our goals were to remove the stigma from those who have served time and break the cycle of criminality. By working in collaboration with formerly incarcerated individuals, rebranded aims to let those with the experience be the dominant voice and lead the conversation towards social change. Rebranded project was designed to encourage ideas and dialogue between individuals with multidisciplinary backgrounds in order to effectively make change in prison reform and rehabilitation.
Redefine: We decided to keep the overbearing labels of criminality within the design process. We then redefined theses labels by adding positive alternative words to each letter. Text and typography became an important element to this project. We chose to use verdana font, because of it important connections to the criminal justice industry. It is one of the dominate font used within legal courts, as well as the font used for many correctional facilities and prisons.
• CONVICT — COURAGEOUS OPEN NOVATURIENT VICTORIOUS INDEPENDENT CARING TRUSTWORTHY
• CRIMINAL — CREATIVE RESOURCEFUL INNOVATIVE MOTIVATIVE INTELLIGENT NOTEWORTHY ADVANCED LOVING
• THUG — THOUGHTFUL HOPEFUL UNDERSTANDING GROWING
• PUBLIC ENEMY — PASSIONATE UNIQUE BOLD LEGENDARY INTERESTING CARING EQUIPPED NECESSARY ELEVATED MOTIVATED YES
• FELON — FREE ENERGIZED LIBERATED OVERCOMER NECESSARY
Reclaim: We decided to design with parallels to the fashion industry by reclaiming remnant, donated, factory second, and rejected fabrics & materials from various fashion brands and fabric mills. The brands include Alexander Wang,Rag & Bone, Big Duck Canvas, and Parsons School of Design’s own fabric donations. We reclaimed the fabric through various heat processes to reference the idea of a branding or a scar. these heat techniques include: branding, embossing, laser cutting, and bonding.
By working in collaboration with formerly incarcerated individuals, Rebranded aims to let them, who have an incarnated experience of incarceration, be the dominant voice and lead the conversation towards social change. Rebranded Project met to encourage ideas and dialogue between individuals with multidisciplinary backgrounds of all generations in order to effectively make change in prison reform and rehabilitation.