Immigrant T-Shirt Sale Benefiting the ACLU
- Words Grailed Team
- Date March 09, 2017
When Robert Geller took his bow after his F/W 17 show—a incredible, politically-charged collection entitled
Love and War—he had no idea the most popular piece would be the
Immigrant T-shirt his wife, Ana Beatriz Lerario-Geller, hand-painted for him just hours before. As support for Geller's message swelled, he approached Grailed to officially release the tee and we couldn't be more excited to partner up for a great cause we, as a company, believe in strongly.
I saw a chance to use my platform to send a message about unity, love and inclusion. The response has been incredible and I am thankful to have the opportunity to raise some money for the ACLU, an organization that is as important as ever during these times, says Geller. Our CEO, Arun Gupta, echoes this sentiment:
There is no denying this is a turbulent time for our nation and it falls to each of us to stand up for the values we believe in. Grailed is proud to team up with Robert Geller on this project and help support the ACLU and everyone fighting for human rights and equality everywhere. Read our conversation surrounding the sale with Robert Geller below and buy your own limited edition
Immigrant T-shirt below. We also encourage everyone to donate directly to the ACLU.
All proceeds from the sale will benefit the ACLU with Grailed matching donations 100%.
Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind your F/W 17 collection, entitled "Love and War”?
I began designing this collection in July 2016. I had just come back to New York after some time with my family in Germany. We had several terrorist attacks in Europe during the days that I was there. Donald Trump had just been named the Republican's presidential candidate with his divisive and hate-mongering campaign. I thought that it was a time to decide, for all of us, are we headed towards love or war? I wanted to create a collection that embodies all of the emotions: aggression, protection, strength, romance and vulnerability. Also hope. I think that I am most hopeful when I believe that the ones who want to move forward with open, inclusive spirits can come together and be a force of good in these difficult times.
You took your F/W 17 show bow wearing a T-shirt with the word
Immigrant painted across the front that caused quite a stir. Can you tell us a little bit about that particular tee and how you feel about the current political climate in the United States as someone who came to this country and now calls it home?
I was completely shocked by the results of the election. I was not a huge Hillary supporter. I cannot vote. I was scared to death of a Trump victory. To see that somebody that ran such a negative, hateful campaign could become the President of the United States left me, and many of my friends, completely speechless. The idea for the Immigrant T-shirt came to me the night before the show. I thought it was a small way for me to show solidarity with all immigrants here in the United States that will surely be facing some tough times in the coming years. My wife painted “IMMIGRANT” onto one of my favorite T-Shirts the morning of the show and I decided to put it on right before taking my bow.
The United States has been my home for over 20 years, New York in particular. I have a great love for this country, but I also see the problems. I have always felt that one of the biggest disadvantages of the United States is its vastness. People are afraid of what they don’t know. I see it in Germany in the smaller towns. They are not going to eat foreign foods and they believe that all foreigners are trouble. There are just way more small towns in the United States then there are almost in almost any other country. What I mean is that if you grow up in a small town surrounded by people that look like you, eat the same food as you and pray to the same god as you, and then you hear that the Muslims attacked America on 9/11, it is easy to convince them that Muslims should not be allowed into the country. I can’t blame these people. I can blame a guy that uses this type of ignorance to stir up xenophobia to win the office of the President of the United States. I feel like all morality has been left behind and it scares me that hardly anyone with power is showing any outrage. This topic is obviously much more complex, but I think the aim should be to resist the hate, stay positive and do what you can to help.
Were you surprised about the general reaction to the
Absolutely. It really was a last minute idea to ask if Ana could paint the word
Immigrant on my T-shirt hours before my show. It was something that I wanted to do. The reaction has been incredible. There are so many people that want to support the cause, immigrants or not. I think that that is the point. I want Americans to wear this shirt as much as immigrants.
What kind of role do you think fashion should play in politics?
For me, this isn't about fashion. It is about me using the platform that I have to make a statement to help the people that defend our human rights. I think that it is about everyone doing what they can.
As a father of three young girls, how do you talk to them about the current political state of the country you call home?
We speak very openly, even throughout the whole election. We talk about our concerns and worries and what we believe in. It opens up so many great conversations about equality and human rights and just being decent to one another.
Who do you hope buys this T-shirt and how do you envision them wearing it?
I really want as many Americans to be wearing this shirt as immigrants as I mentioned earlier. That is really the point of this. How they wear it doesn't matter.
Ultimately, do you hope a project like this inspires your fashion designer peers to follow suit?
I do, if it's genuine. If it starts to look like someone is taking advantage of the situation to promote their brand, then I think it can be quite damaging. I think that the key to this project is the message of standing together and finding a way to raise money for the ACLU.
What kind of greater role will politics play in your career as a fashion designer moving forward?
I think that turbulent times bring out strong creative voices. It wakes emotions, which lead to powerful reactions.