IT TAKES A VILLAGE: What started as an afternoon project to design something for her mother to wear for Saturday’s march in Washington, D.C., turned into a whirlwind week of unexpected collaboration for Brooklyn artist Gina Gregorio. After making 10 New Year’s Eve-type crowns for her mother’s friends, Gregorio, a professor at Pratt Institute and Rhode Island School of Design, was able to make 60 more thanks to a friend who offered the use of his laser cutter. Carrying messages such as “Feminist Killjoy” and “Off With His Thumbs,” the crowns were quickly all spoken for. The first slogan harks back to the ERA days of the Seventies.
Finessing her designs with Rebecca Chamberlain, who works with designer Rebecca Taylor, Gregorio decided to create a T-shirt for friends, but the response to an Instagram post inspired her to create more to benefit an underserved cause. Another friend Michaela Angela Davis suggested Brooklyn Community Services. After four hours of work at The Textiles Arts Center, her 90 handmade T-shirts sold out within 24 hours, so a second production run has since followed.
While watching photographer Erin Patrice O’Brien shoot portraits of designer Stella Nolasco, art adviser Emily Havens and others, Gregorio said everything crystalized. “This was the vision I had of people wearing something that makes them feel proud, regal, uplifting and upstanding. There were students of mine from Pratt modeling, kids from the neighborhood — it just felt very much about my community and giving back to my community,” Gregorio said.
“Dear Ivanka” supporter Jim Walrod connected with Gregorio Tuesday and they may use her crown designs for protests down the road. She said of his activism, “He has really established something ongoing. That’s what everybody is feeling right now — nothing is going to end very quickly right now. We all have to stay involved. That’s where I am feeling encouraged by the number of people who are asking, ‘How do we keep the longevity of standing up for ourselves and our communities?'”
The e-commerce site was built in three hours by a former student living in Bolivia and a friend in Rochester, N.Y. The Textiles Arts Center offered free studio space and director Kelly Valletta rolled up her sleeves to pitch in. Designer Marcia Patmos offered to help spread the word. Another pal, James Dieter of the lighting company Dform, offered his laser-cutting machine and scrap material. Gregorio said, “I have to say the hallmark of this has been everybody saying ‘How can I help?’”