Founded in 2019, Sistas of Liberty (S.O.L.) Apparel supports, encourages, and promotes the equality of all women, especially those of color. Similarly to the Statue of Liberty, a Sista of Liberty serves as a symbol of freedom to women, and represents not only the liberation from, but also the dismantling of a patriarchal society that attempts to chain femininity below masculinity.
The idea was inspired by a fellow Columbia student who sculpted a small version of the Statue of Liberty, added an Afro to her, and covered her in hip-hop lyrics. In visualizing this, I wondered first what a Black Statue of Liberty would look like, and next, what Statues of Liberty of other ethnicities would look like. I thought of a scene in the finale of Shonda Rhyme’s hit show, Scandal. The main character, Olivia Pope, is the subject of a presidential-like portrait hanging in what is presumed to be the National Portrait Gallery. Similar to real life when former First Lady Michelle Obama’s official portrait was first released to the public and a little Black girl was photographed staring at the painting with wide-eyed admiration, the Scandal series final scene shows two young Black girls staring with awe and admiration at Olivia Pope’s portrait. That scene stuck with me. I wanted to create an image that sparked the same inspiration for young girls, like my little sister, to realize that they too have power and more than every reason to have equal rights. Designer, Gabriel Reid, who’s also my cousin, was able to use his amazing talents to bring this idea to life.
After formulating the name “Sistas Of Liberty” and knowing what we wanted our mission to be, I researched more about the topic. In doing so, I came across a social media page called Sisters of Liberty that sought to “re-appropriate patriotic images and give them meanings that empower American women...” and capture those images on t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc., with proceeds benefitting organizations that empower women. Although the page did not inspire any of our ideas, we acknowledge and recognize that Sistas of Liberty is similar, but with a different spin. Like the Black History Month Edition/design that launched our brand, future S.O.L. apparel will feature other “sistas” of various heritages— and proceeds will benefit an organization/charity that directly supports women of the respective S.O.L. design’s heritage.
S.O.L. Apparel actively supports the empowerment of women. 10% of profits made by each S.O.L. design are donated to an organization/charity that directly supports women of the respective S.O.L. design's heritage.
Charities/Organizations That S.O.L. Apparel Supports:
10% of all Black History Month Edition merchandise is donated to Black Girls Code, an organization whose goal is to "increase the number of women in color in STEM fields." http://www.blackgirlscode.com
10% of all Desi Edition merchandise is donated to the Thaakat Foundation's DREAMS project. This project is dedicated to building educational centers in Pakistan. http://www.thaakatfoundation.org/our-projects/#pakistan
10% of all Boricua Edition merchandise is donated to Profamilias Puerto Rico, an organization that provides reproductive and sexual health services to women in Puerto Rico. https://www.profamiliaspr.org