Siana Bangura, poet, performer, producer and Bootcamp 12 grad, is Creative Director for Sassy Apparel. I caught up with her to find out more about the launch of their clothing line.
Have you heard of Sassy Apparel? Sassy Apparel is the freshest clothing line that’s engaging people in politics through their clothes, highlighting movements and activists from black liberation struggles. Not only does the clothing line use political slogans, they only work with ethical companies, ensuring that the products are made free from child, forced and low-wage labour. Great style and great politics make Sassy Apparel a great place to shop.
Bootcamp 12 graduate Siana Bangura, is a poet, performer, producer, and is also the Creative Director for Sassy Apparel. I caught up with her to find out more about the launch.
Why did you think this would be something worthwhile to get involved in?
Sassy Apparel is a political clothing and lifestyle brand. We fuse together our love for popular culture and understanding that the personal is political, and have created a unique brand for all to enjoy, whether you’re an active change maker already or just starting out in student politics.
What do you think are the main barriers that stop people being engaged with political issues?
I think the biggest thing is people feeling like they ‘don’t understand’ or ‘just don’t know enough’ thanks to the establishment making everything seem impossible when really many things need common sense solutions. Politics and more generally ‘woke culture’ isn’t very inclusive for the most part.
Do you think Sassy Apparel is helping people overcome those barriers?
We hope that using your clothes and accessories as a conversation starter is a small way to overcome initial imposter syndrome. Political issues affect the daily lives of all of us, and I think we all have an opinion, even those who think they don’t. Expressing yourself through your clothing can be a powerful statement as is the fact that when you wear our clothes in your everyday life or on a march or demo you’re also saying ‘I support cruelty free, ethical, environmentally responsible fashion’ as we manufacture with those values in mind.
How has the project evolved and changed since it began?
My friend and founder of Sassy Apparel, Barbara Ntumy, started the brand (formerly known as Sassy Tees) from her bedroom in 2015 whilst she was still a student. Since then the brand has expanded into making accessories such as totes and mugs as well as homeware such as cushions. The team also expanded from just one person to three at present. We’re a fun brand and use humour to make some weighty criticism of the current state of society, a society driven by white supremacy, imperialism, patriarchy, homophobia, cisnormativity, ableism, classism and so on. The abhorrent list of injustices is truly appalling, but sometimes, as well as fighting the good fight, oppressed people need to find humorous ways to resist and always find room for joy as part of our survival mechanisms.
Can you tell me what the phrase used in you re-launch event ‘Life is inherently political’ means to you?
It means exactly what it says on the tin. The personal is political. Everything is political when you are an oppressed member of society, marginalised in a number of ways. Your very existence becomes political. Why run away from that? It can be exhausting but I’ve learnt owning it is better than hiding from it. The latter allows others unfit to do so to speak for you.
What’s your favourite thing about organising in Sassy Apparel?
Our work isn’t ‘organising’. We are a clothing brand first and foremost, but all our products have political slogans or pay homage to revolutionaries of the past and present. It’s fun to see people’s reactions to some of our more direct pieces like our Mediocre White Man tote. That upsets (you’ve guessed it) mediocre white men and their friends. Overall seeing customers wear our clothes with pride is a wonderful feeling as is seeing your designs come to life.
What’s your favourite item from Sassy Apparel?
My favourite items are our Believe Women range of totes, sweaters and tees, and I’m also a fan of our African Female Revolutionaries tee along with our tee paying homage to Black British Feminists for International Women’s Day.
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