Visual Culture

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

“Mixed to Perfection”

While grabbing a cup of coffee at our local café, we came across an interesting line of apparel cleverly titled ?RU. Each item contained slogans such as “Mixed to Perfection” and “Hybrid Vigor.” The concept behind the ?RU brand acknowledges the fastest growing group in the United States—people of mixed race, or the “multi-racials.” For more info on this burgeoning population, click on this.

Our discovery of this multi-cultural line also happened to correspond with the 5th annual celebration of “Loving Day” which occurred on June 12th of this year. Loving Day commemorates the landmark decision to ban what was then termed miscegenation, or in other words, interracial marriage. Created by Writer, Lori L. Tharps and Art Director, Tesia Barone, ?RU is the embodiment of the progress made in the US in overturning oppression and embracing our estranged yet interconnected roots.

Lori Tharps shares the motivation behind the new line: ” As the mother of two mixed kids and a journalist who often writes about race and identity, I knew that the phrase ‘What are you?’ is one of the most annoyingly pervasive questions people ask of those who don’t look like the stereotypical definitions we have for racial categories. I write about these issues, but I wanted to do something more. I wanted to bring the question and the answers out in the open and hopefully neutralize some of the pain and annoyance associated with identity politics. I wanted to start a public conversation but I wanted to do it in a positive and fun way.”

In regards to the graphic treatment, co-founder Tesia Barone explains: “The identity works very well in both its graphic treatment and naming. The goal was to turn what can be an annoying question, into an opportunity for discussion. The combination of symbols and letters to represent that question is how we frequently communicate in the current age of texting & instant-messaging. The overall effect is meant to feel bold, slightly intrusive, and intriguing at the same time.”

In addition to their tees and pins, ?RU is in the process of developing additional products such as socks, flip-flops, and mittens. Stay tuned, as we’ll provide you with the latest on this inspiring, identity-embracing apparel as it becomes available.

Here’s a video they put together together to explain what they are doing.

posted by Oberholtzer Creative Staff at 1:08 pm  


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