Back in October, Cara “cool graphic tee wearer” Delevingne was photographed wearing a navy blue sweatshirt that read “The Future Is Female” in white text. Later that month, her girlfriend and musician Annie Clark (St. Vincent) wore the same shirt, paired with a white Chanel bag.
What you need to know is this is no ordinary sweatshirt. The message behind this sweatshirt represents radical feminist progression that dates back to the 1970s. The original “The Future Is Female” design was created for Labyris Books, the first women’s bookstore in New York City. In 1975, Alix Dobkin was the first to wear the tee, which was photographed for a special project by Liza Cowan.
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I just made another very large donation to @plannedparenthood for last month's sales of #thefutureisfemale and I am overwhelmed by the love and support! Here are two photos of #AlixDobkin by @lizacowan, the original from 1975 (that I discovered through @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y) and one from last weekend in 2015! Grateful for the past, present and future 💕 remember 25% of proceeds go to #PlannedParenthood #standwithpp (Photo edit by @thatgirl.james)
Cowan shares, “I was just beginning to be a photographer, and asked five friends if I could do a before-and-after story on how a woman’s look can change over the course of her life as she matures and comes out.”
Now in 2015, the ’70s “The Future Is Female” message is spreading once again. The $50 sweatshirt (also available as a $30 T-shirt, baby onesie and enamel pin) has become the “it” clothing item on Instagram and Tumblr. Social media users and fans have been so inspired by the message that their devotion surpasses purchasing the clothing item. People have gone to lengths of carving the quote into pumpkins and dressing small children in it.
If you’re wondering how you can purchase this top for yourself, it is sold at a design studio called Otherwild in Los Angeles. A pop-up shop is opening in Brooklyn on December 3rd. The store is owned by designer Rachel Berks who originally made just 24 t-shirts, which sold out in two days!
Berks shares, “It’s thrilling to see people embrace something that came out of the ’70s lesbian separatist moment. The shirt is about a reaction to a misogynist and patriarchal culture that affects a lot of people. People are recontextualizing it: trans women, men, moms who have sons.”
Vintage has never looked so good. You can purchase the “The Future Is Female” merchandise here.
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