Sterling Ruby's "Veil Flag."

Los Angeles artist-designer Sterling Ruby used his slot on the Paris Fashion Week calendar to unveil a short film condemning President Trump and urging voting participation, with proceeds from sales of the art-to-wear piece featured going to the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This project is a meditation on the American flag, how a patriotic icon can be transformed beyond a public symbol,” Ruby said in a statement. “What happens when the iconographic is destabilized, when that which is upright is displaced onto the body and rendered abstract? Given the current political climate in the United States, I wanted to explore the concept of the flag as a signifier in flux and how our relationship to it may change when it is activated as a veil. The mantra-like narration emphasizes the state of mourning I see our country in and the importance of voting out the leaderless leadership of the Trump administration.”

Titled “Veil Flag,” the black-and-white film features a short dialogue about the American flag, “a flag worn down covered in hardship,” the voiceover states, “marching against leaderless leadership,” it echoes. “Tread on me, stain me in sweat and soil, soak me in bleach and blood, light me on fire,” it suggests. “End the tyranny of the President Grand Dragon.”

Set against a brick wall, the imagery is of a lone figure crouching, shrouded under fabric, conjuring pictures of torture and racist Ku Klux Klan hoods, until he rises in slow motion to reveal the outstretched mineral-washed denim flag shielding him. Designed to be a wall hanging and wearable garment, the piece will be sold online in a quantity of 50 editions at $650 each. Preorder opens Sept. 28, with a projected shipment date at the end of October, and proceeds supporting the ACLU.

This is Ruby’s second initiative with the organization, following his support of the ACLU of Southern California through the presentation of his film “State” at Sprüth Magers gallery last year. 

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