Renowned LA launches ‘Heroes of Blackness’ collection with 76-year-old professor who rose to fame as a passionate campaigner for societal reform

Angela Davis in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017.

Angela Davis in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017.
Photograph: Agencia Efe/REX/Shutterstock

The author, academic, former Black Panther and civil rights activist Dr Angela Davis has launched her first fashion collaboration, working with the Renowned LA label on a “Heroes of Blackness” collection which features her likeness on T-shirts and hoodies.

“She had some requests,” said Renowned LA creative director John Dean, who met Davis through a mutual friend and expressed satisfaction that “she could approve of the charity and that she could approve of the design”.

A portion of sales revenue from the project will go to Dream Defenders, which works towards defunding the police, and to Underground Grit, a prison reform group.

Davis, now 76 and a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, rose to fame in the 1960s and 70s as a passionate campaigner for radical societal reform.

For Dean, the collaboration with Davis comes at an important moment, as fashion brands’ commitment to diversity is being questioned. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, many brands expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. More than six months later, their dedication is being questioned.

“It felt performative: ‘Oh, black issues are hot right now,’” said Dean. “It was driving clicks and advertising. Six months later [fashion brand’s websites] are less Black Lives Matter-y.

“But it’s not a trend: I’m going to be black my whole life. Black people are still fighting for equality. It seems like some people [in the fashion industry] don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

The main logo on the Davis hoodie says: “We not asking no more.”

“It’s saying [black people] have to be given what we deserve,

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