President Donald Trump has been in office for exactly 2 years, 221 days, 23 hours, 53 minutes and 38 seconds. And since that fateful day in 2017 when he was elected, a lot has changed. Border walls are now discussed on end, climate change is all but ignored, and marginalized groups are discriminated against openly and incessantly. The political strife inspired designer Rachelle Hruska MacPherson to take a stand. The owner of luxury knitwear brand, Lingua Franca, MacPherson joined forces with Diana Weymar of Tiny Pricks, to encourage people to let out their aggression toward the President with stitching.
The collaboration is also part of a bigger effort to support local organizations and to help those who are being personally affected by Trump’s presidency. The brand promises to donate a portion of the proceeds from every sale to charity, including Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, Voto Latino for The Dreamers Funds, and Sanctuary for Families, MacPherson tells Refinery29.
These words should not be normalized and Diana is ensuring that they never will be.
Rachelle Hruska MacPherson of Lingua Franca
When MacPherson started Lingua Franca back in 2015, it was actually more of a personal project than a political one. To cope with anxiety, she began embroidering at her therapist’s recommendation. "I learned how to sew from my grandmother when I was a little girl, but I hadn’t picked up a needle in more than a decade," she shared. "That first weekend, I picked up an old cashmere sweater and embroidered 'booyah' on it. I posted it on Instagram. Friends, then later, stores, started requesting some of their own via direct message."
All that changed after Donald Trump’s election. She recalls the mood being “palpably dismal” among embroiders when she walked into the Lingua Franca office on November 17, 2017. "The news had been dominated by talk of 45's blatantly anti-Muslim travel ban and there were members of our team who were unsure if or when they would ever see their families and loved ones again," she writes on the brand’s website. MacPherson turned to the one coping mechanism she knew: stitching. She picked up a sweater, embroidered "I MISS BARACK", and posted it on Instagram. It quickly went viral, connecting her with several other designers finding solace in stitching as well.
One fellow embroiderer who caught MacPherson’s attention was Diana Weymar. The artist and curator, who hails from Victoria, British Columbia, had almost the exact same response to President Trump’s inauguration. A day after Hruska MacPherson posted her first political stitch, Weymar shared her own, reading: "I am a very stable genius." From there, Weymar stitched one Trump quote a week, then one a day, until she couldn't keep up with the flow of 'WTF did he just say?' statements coming from the President. She created the Tiny Pricks Project to hold Trump accountable with physical records of all the inane things he’s said during his presidency. The account now has over 30,000 followers on Instagram.
MacPherson immediately felt a kinship after discovering Tiny Pricks Project through social media. “I love that we both took to the needle to voice our opposition," she said. With the shared goal of offering an outlet for those frustrated with the current administration, the two women teamed up. From now until September 3rd, Lingua Franca's Bleecker St. storefront will host the Tiny Pricks Project. "People from around the world, not to mention neighbors we’ve never met, have been stopping in daily having conversations and interacting," Hruska MacPherson says of the pop-up. At the store, visitors are invited to stitch their own #45 tweets and quotes, as well as shop a limited edition Lingua Franca x Tiny Pricks t-shirt.