Levi’s® x Fresco Steez
A collaboration in service to Black History Month
Fresco Steez is a designer, organizer and cultural engineer. In honor of Black History Month 2021, Levi’s® partnered with Fresco to create a range of customization graphics that honor the deep legacy of Black political struggle, while responding to the millions of people who took the streets in defense of Black lives during the summer of 2020 and throughout the decades before. Fresco designs for those who honor Black history, and take action in the present in defense of Black lives.
“I wanted to draw on political history for this collection, and I want people to see, even down to the typeface used, the subtle references to different political struggles. I wanted to illustrate Levi’s® as much as I do that we’re not just talking about Black history, we’re talking about Black futures. The future that we are moving towards is in a long tradition of Black people building power in uprising and political struggle.” – Fresco Steez
Hear more from Fresco in the video below.
A range of special edition graphics are available online, in-store and at Levi’s® Tailor Shops.
SHOP T-SHIRTS, SWEATSHIRTS & TOTE BAGS
Available online, In-Store, and at Levi’s® Tailor Shops.
There are so many moments during an uprising, where Black activists are asked “What are you fighting for?” This graphic set illustrates some of the many conditions and visions for the future that have moved us to take action. Whether you’re at a protest, passing out food in your community, donating to a charity, or in line to vote. We are taking the necessary steps to move collectively towards freedom. We are building the power to achieve equality and fair treatment. We are fighting for the chance to live lives rooted in joy, without fear. A future where Black culture is honored, without exploitation. These graphics represent those north stars – each adorned with roses to signify a fight not only for fundamental needs, but beauty as well. These pieces serve as an opportunity for people to proudly articulate and express what it is they’re fighting for. We honor Black history here through the letter design, it intentionally replicated the Memphis strike signs of 1968 during the Civil Rights Movement. SHOP NOW
Available online and in select stores.
This concept is inspired by the west-african value of sankofa. We must honor the lessons of the past and use them to ground us in presence, only then can we apply these lessons to inform our vision for a better future. This shirt is an invitation to think through how we honor Black radical history? How can the context of how history help us to understand the current struggles we face? How are we making time in the present to practice dreaming and building the best future for our communities?
We are honoring Black radical history through the Black Panther. In the present, we use that history to break the chains of centuries of oppression. Everyday, we are committed to putting good into the world, to build a collective path towards a blooming future. Where Black communities finally experience the full beauty of what the world has to offer. Like the butterflies shown, it is a story of transformation. SHOP NOW
PATCHES & CHAIN STITCHING
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“All power to the people!” is a rallying cry that has been heard from our elders to the youth in the streets of today. All Power to the People is an affirmation – a chant that embodies the belief that communities deserve to be able to co-create the conditions that deeply impact their lives. This graphic pays homage to the many Black organizations that used the panther as a symbol of freedom. From the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to the Black Panther Party, the many sacrifices they made to transform their communities — from better education, to fighting for voting rights, to free breakfast programs, to housing rights and community safety. We honor the Black Panther Party members who continue to show us the way. Ain’t no power like the power of the people, cause the power of the people don’t stop! The letter design intentionally replicates the Memphis strikes signs of 1968 during the Civil Rights Movement.
Black lives matter, period. This rallying cry can be heard in the streets, classrooms, courthouses, and across borders. A generation has been shaped by mass protests against police violence on Black people, walkouts and marches to demand more resources in our communities, and a monumental shift, breaking away from old beliefs.
This patch reflects that “Black Lives Matter” is a part of a lineage of resistance and resilience. With this graphic, Fresco united “Black Lives Matter” with the Pan-African flag, a symbol first created by political activist Marcus Garvey to represent the African diaspora. By connecting “Black Lives Matter” to the Pan-African flag, it places the movement in the centuries long history of the fight for Black liberation. The letter design intentionally replicates the Memphis strike signs of 1968 during the Civil Rights Movement.
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It’s our duty to win. We must love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” – Assata Shakur
This patch pays homage to currently exiled freedom fighter Assata Shakur, whose words have shaped generations of political thought. Assata challenges us to not just keep our eyes on transforming our communities, but to be fearless, intentional, and move with love along the way. Featuring a raised fist rising from a bed of roses, it tells the story of the fight for Black liberation, while also invoking the famous labor quote, “Give us Bread, but give us Roses,” an allusion to the idea that the fight is not only for fundamental needs, but for experiences of beauty and joy as well. This fist is inspired by the illustrations used on the original Black Panther Party political education materials. The letter design intentionally replicates the Memphis strike signs of 1968 during the Civil Rights Movement.
This design is a reference to the Combahee River Collective statement, a foundational text to the Black feminist radical tradition.
We are born believing that we are valued, cared for and loved in our complexity. Yet, Black women are oftentimes taught to believe otherwise. This patch is a declaration: Black women are inherently valuable enough. It just is.
“Above all else, Our politics initially sprang from the shared belief that Black women are inherently valuable, that our liberation is a necessity. This may seem so obvious as to sound simplistic, but it is apparent that no other ostensibly progressive movement has ever considered our specific oppression as a priority or worked seriously for the ending of the oppression.” – Combahee River Collective Statement, April 1977
As cis and trans Black women sit at the intersections of race and gender, this message lives at the core of the fight for justice and self-determination. Black women are on the frontlines, as activists, artists, essential workers, as leaders, repeatedly saving the day. This Black history month we honor you and thank you for your continued labor.
The RGB earth is in reference to the Third World Women’s Alliance, a foundational formation to the concept of intersectional feminism.
Black LGBTQI+ people have always been at the forefront of movements for change. Yet, patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia have silenced and ostracized their important stories and traditions. These stories need to be told and remembered. This patch honors the queer freedom fighters who have changed a generation by reminding us that the Stonewall Rebellion is also a part of Black history. It was Marsha P. Johnson, an activist and self-identified drag queen, who threw the brick through the windshield of a police car that would launch Stonewall, touching off a series of events that would transform conditions for LGBTQI+ people all around the world.
Power U Center for Social Change works to build community strength, stability and self reliance among Black and Brown working class youth through civic engagement. Power U was born in 1999, and has now grown to chapters across high schools in South Florida. Through civic engagement, leadership and political education, Power U has transformed their communities and schools. Currently, Power U is focused on “organizing young people to fight for safe and supportive schools” a right that all young people deserve.
Fresco Steez is a community organizer, designer, and cultural engineer. She’s designed creative concepts for the Movement for Black Lives, Black Lives Matter, ‘me too,’ and a host of other political movements. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Fresco began organizing at the age of 14, and has dedicated her life to the fight for Black liberation. She is a co-founder of BYP100 (Black Youth Project), a member-based organization of Black youth activists, where she served as Minister of Culture and developed the phrase Unapologetically Black. Fresco fuses design, political education, and Black culture to create tools to inspire people to action. She is committed to a Black liberation experience that frees ALL Black people, and that follows in the Black radical tradition.