Every other week, a fast-fashion giant announces yet another designer collaboration, but there's one brand we can always rely on to produce a capsule we get truly excited about. & Other Stories has a long history of working with up-and-coming, sustainable, offbeat partners, whether it's Sonic Youth musician and author Kim Gordon, interiors brand House of Hackney, luxury labels Rodarte and Sadie Williams, or Swedish singer Lykke Li.
And once again, the brand is treating us to a capsule we'll be racing to get our hands on. A line of brightly hued, '70s-style slogan T-shirts, produced in collaboration with LA-based collective The Deep End Club, will be available online at & Other Stories from October 30th. If you're not already familiar with The Deep End Club, founded by drummer Tennessee Thomas, you've definitely seen its trademark tee all over Instagram – "Give A Damn" has been worn by the likes of Alexa Chung, just one of the women in Tennessee's gang.
The 'community clubhouse' and online shop was founded back in 2013 by Tennessee as a space for artists and activists to voice concerns, find like-minded souls, and create positive solutions to the world's growing problems. Originally born out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, it continues to support and rally behind causes, from promoting gun safety to fostering community gardens, all while hosting Radical Open Mic Nights on Friday evenings in LA's Echo Park.
After visiting one of The Deep End Club's open mic nights, & Other Stories' creatives reached out to Tennessee about working together on a line of her signature T-shirts. "Tennessee inspires us with her unbounded creativity and her determination to create positive change in the world," Anna Nyrén, Head of Co-labs at & Other Stories, explains. "Thomas' energy shines through in the T-shirts, and we’re so excited to include two pieces uniquely made for us in the online pop-up."
The collection will include the trademark 'Give A Damn' slogan – recently on display at MoMA's Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibition – alongside its 'In Solidarity' tee, plus two bespoke pieces featuring more psychedelic prints in mood-boosting colors. The lookbook and accompanying video (watch below) for the collection features Deep End Club members, Sasami Ashworth, Kyleigh Kuhn and Ariel Van Pelt, who grouped together to create the designs.
Political slogans may have become an easy trend for brands to tap into over the past few years, thus diluting some of their intended power. But with Tennessee and her band of artists and activists using their platforms to highlight injustices and bring communities together, this is one collection we'll be shouting about.
On the eve of the launch, we caught up with Tennessee, who told us about the causes she's rallying behind right now, who inspires her, and what's up next for The Deep End Club.
Why did you found The Deep End Club?
After Occupy Wall Street I wanted a place to hold space for these feelings and ideas. A place for communities to come together with the intention of being conscious of all the issues in the world – and seeing what we could do to feel less scared, isolated, indifferent, plus to collaborate on creating solutions, however small.
You met the & Other Stories founders at your Radical Open Mic Night in Echo Park – tell us about those events and why you host them...
I have a lot of incredibly creative and imaginative friends who have these profound radical ideas. People come through the space and tell me about all the incredible work they do, organizations they’re involved with, and inspiring stories and ideas from the past. I thought it would be fun to have the opportunity to present all of their ideas to the community through an open mic set-up. Sometimes there’s music too!
Your collaboration features your signature 'Give A Damn' slogan plus 'In Solidarity'. Which political and social causes are you in solidarity with right now?
The Democratic Party and moving towards the midterm elections in November, our revolution, and Bernie [Sanders]’s endorsement of progressive candidates. We have been donating money from most of our recent events to RAICES Texas, working to reunite parents separated from their children at the border. We just had a benefit for Baby2Baby which provides nappies for families that need them. We also recently had a benefit for Friends of the LA River – a local environmental nonprofit. We made signs at the clubhouse and then went to marches supporting anti-gun legislation, March For Our Lives, and anti-ICE [detainment of immigrants]. There’s no end to the list of issues and marches we want to help.
What happens at a Deep End Club meet-up?
We start by asking the community what they’re concerned about and then create actions and events to help on various different issues. We recently wrote letters to city council handling proposals to expand local oil fields and power plants.
Your T-shirts have been worn by a host of cool women – who's in your gang?
My band Nice As Fuck – Erika Spring and Jenny Lewis. All of my amazing friends! I have met so many new people through having the collective. It’s fun now, having done The Deep End Club in New York and LA... I wonder where we should pop up next!
Your pieces have a very '70s feel, what else inspires you?
The illustrator I work with, Cali Sales, always interprets my ideas in a playful way – we have been collaborating for a few years now, and The Deep End Club aesthetic has come from that. I am personally inspired by surrealism, the late '60s films of Jean-Luc Godard, the Happenings scene in New York in the late '50s/early '60s, City Lights radical bookshop in San Francisco, outsider art monuments like Salvation Mountain. I travelled to India earlier this year – that was very inspiring. The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre in Echo Park! The Cabaret Voltaire... places where people dare to dream. I recently enjoyed the new Yayoi Kusama documentary Infinity – art can help make the world more peaceful.