Fashion and politics are mixing once again, this time via a new collaboration between Michelle Smith, Milly’s creative director, and acclaimed artist Laurie Simmons. The two have joined forces to create an exclusive T-shirt celebrating Planned Parenthood‘s 100th anniversary.
The T-shirt features new artwork by Simmons, showing a strong set of female athletic legs running beneath a lush, vibrant bouquet of flowers. Simmons explains to Yahoo Lifestyle that the flowers are celebrating Planned Parenthood’s “100 Years Strong.” The artist is quick to differentiate this image from her past work, which includes her Walking & Lying Objects series or Early Color Interiors series, which also depict legs, though in those instances they are slender doll legs engaged in traditional female gender roles.
While the athleticism and strength showcased on these shirts sends a message, so too does the action. Are they running away? No. “Women aren’t running away from all of this, they’re running right towards it,” says Simmons. Towards what, you ask? “Resistance. Support. Activism.”
Simmons cites the Women’s March as a prime example of how women have shown their communal strength and support of their rights. Women “are very activated right now,” says Simmons.
Both Smith and Simmons have been longtime supporters of Planned Parenthood, and both have used the organization for their own personal needs.
Simmons’s daughter, Lena Dunham, is also a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and has raised money for the organization in the past.
“More than ever I believe in a woman’s right to choose,” Simmons says. “This idea that the clock will be turned back on a woman’s right to choose is still so shocking to me because I understood progress as something that could not be reversed.”
Smith, for her part, cites Trump’s election as her “severe wakeup call to do something.” For that reason, at her February 2017 runway show, Smith gave out T-shirts that read “Steinem AF” — a direct reference to the legendary political activist Gloria Steinem as well as a sign of her support for feminism.
“We are aligned with female empowerment, helping others, LGBTQ rights, and we want everybody to know it. We’re not hiding it,” Smith says of Milly. “Now more than ever, if we feel threatened, it’s a time to speak up.”
You can buy the limited edition Milly x Laurie Simmons shirt for $75 on Milly.com and select New York boutiques. One hundred percent of the profits will go to Planned Parenthood.
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