Rick Dove Celebrates Juneteenth With A New Collection On “Much-More”
Written by Vocalo Radio on June 19, 2020
Fashion designer Rick Dove is expanding his work from his hit LA-based concept shop Pakkard Studio.
He’s got a new project called Much-More and is using it to raise both awareness and funds on this year’s Juneteenth. He spoke to us about the systematic racism within the design world, why he believes fashion is an important medium to spread awareness, and finding his responsibility in the design industry.
Vocalo: As a designer, why are garments an important medium for you?
Rick Dove: I believe T-shirts are the new posters. It allows you to represent your true values and spread the message in an easier way. It’s a form of printed media that always gets the job done. I think T-shirts can be a form of protest – allowing the viewer to understand where you stand.
How has systemic racism impacted the tradition of design and your experience as a black designer?
Systemic racism has deep roots in design. For me, it was to the point that I couldn’t get a job working for a company that I really want to work for based off of my ethnicity and where I was from. It even affected the subject matter in my design; feeling like I would be shunned away if my design reflected how pro-Black I am. Not having the resources available and not knowing any Black-owned design agencies left me pretty weary about continuing design. If it wasn’t for my natural progression and my willingness to continue, I’d say it’d be a lot harder for me to make a living through design.
This Juneteenth you’re releasing a tee inspired by Assata Shakur … What parts of her life and legacy inspired you?
Assata’s story always inspired me since a kid. I reflect on how her and the Black Liberation Movement made an impact in the community that’s surrounded them. From the free food programs to the militant organization that the Black Panthers had, it really shows what can happen if we organize.
Proceeds from your sales on Friday will be going to the Prison Fellowship, supporting children with parents who are incarcerated. This is just one example of a charity you have worked with recently … how do you choose which particular organizations to benefit with your work?
I’m lucky enough to have a grandmother that’s really into philanthropy. She taught me as a kid to donate and always spread the wealth that you earned. I sometimes volunteer with her during the holiday season to give gifts to a lot of these kids who have parents that are incarcerated. So when the time came for me to choose an organization, it was a no-brainer.
What do you feel is missing in the fashion industry?
Honestly not to pat myself on the back, but I believe I am what the fashion industry is missing. People have had thousands of more opportunities than I had to find ways to help people that are less fortunate. I don’t feel like they have taken advantage of that opportunity. As soon as I got the chance to…I did.
The fashion industry should work on being more than what we see at face value. I have yet to see a brand that makes really, really good clothes and care about the community just as much. The only brand that comes to mind is Pigalle in Paris. They showed me how you can build a community around brick and mortar and successfully impact the community that you’re in.
Juneteenth is always a deeply important day, but this year it is taking on even more significance as part of a broader movement. How do you plan to spend the day? What does it mean to you this year?
I plan on spending the day spreading the word about my brand and its initiatives. Passing out flyers similar to how Black Panthers did it and finding ways to organize.
You’ve stated that “Although fashion and products can’t change the world the [Much More] initiative could.” How do you see this initiative growing and changing over time?
I see me being able to help out a lot of people through this brand. I want to use my platform to teach and inspire. As my business grows, the initiative grows, and we can directly impact communities. My goal is to build a resource center for young designers and a place to network – similar to what I had before, at Pakkard Studio.
Your Juneteenth release is highly anticipated! You’ve said it’s the first time in a while where you’ve really felt free. Can you talk about the source of that feeling and how it’s manifesting in your work?
Feeling free almost felt like an impossible task. When I say I feel free, I’m mainly speaking about the freedom to express myself without feeling like I’m preaching. I [previously] limited myself to looking up to brands that really weren’t for us and trying to mimic what worked for them. I now know my responsibility in this industry and I feel free enough to express it 100%.
Follow Rick On Instagram and Twitter! And check out Much-More’s Instagram/Website, as well as Pakkard Studio’s Instagram/Website!
Interviewed and edited for length & clarity by Shelby Kluver
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