Creative collective Hijinks has created Legalitees,—a community-led fashion brand based in Brixton, South London.
The initiative launches with a range of t-shirts that boldly highlight stop and search rights.
The t-shirts aim to empower people during stop and search encounters by readily equipping them with their legal rights. The t-shirts. which marked Human Rights Day on Sunday, December 10th, aim to bring civil rights to the forefront through fashion.
The Legalitees initiative is a response to community research and in-depth interviews that found people don’t know their rights when stopped and searched.
The t-shirts display concise versions of stop and search rights strategically positioned upside down for immediate readability for the wearer.
The reverse of the tees is a blank canvas for emerging artists to tell real stories of stop and search experiences.
Rooted in the history of art as activism, the t-shirts amplify voices and provoke critical conversations about social justice.
The t-shirt series includes designs by four artists: multidisciplinary artist Ishamael Lartey; creative director and interdisciplinary artist Sam Lawson; artist, illustrator and photographer Danna Michelly Quiñones Rodriguez; and contemporary illustrator and artist Kells Hayward. Lartey, Lawson and Rodriguez created their design based on personal experiences of stop and search and its impact on their lives and others around them.
The t-shirts are the first edition in the Legalitees range which will continue to address commonly disregarded civil liberties, such as protest rights.
The stop and search range is available at www.legalitees.co.uk and costs £25.00.
The aim is to address the stark, disproportionate impact of stop and search practices on Black and minority ethnic communities. Black individuals are four times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts. Mixed-race people are nearly twice as likely to be stopped.
With political inaction on cutting down stop and search, Legalitees is calling for greater education around stop and search rights, in particular for Black and ethnic minority communities.
Tamryn Kerr, co-founder and chief creative officer of Hijinks and Legalitees, said: “Creativity has the power to connect communities and make real tangible change, and that’s what this brand is designed to do. Throughout history, people have fought for us to have the civil rights that we have today, and it’s important that we continue to protect them.”
Matty Amartey, a research participant, said: “Stop and search isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a constant threat that defines people’s daily lives. The colour of my skin, the clothes I wear, or even how I speak shouldn’t dictate whether I’m allowed to carry out my life without being under suspicion. It’s underscored by racism, plain and simple, and that’s not a world I want for my kids. I want to share my story so people don’t have to be afraid and have their rights to hand when it matters most.”
Muhammed Rauf, director of business development at Centric, said: “In Brixton, the complex history of stop and search intertwines with the lived experiences of its current residents. Legalitees art delves into the tensions of injustice and police misconduct, which comes to a head in the police’s power to stop and search. The experiences of the communities we work with are rooted in Lambeth and Southwark but their message of ‘human rights, right now’, resonates across the UK and the world. We want these t-shirts to amplify voices and empower people when they need to know their rights the most.”
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