In September, which was either last month or a thousand years ago, I introduced you to Iris Barbee Bonner, who creates wearable art — the best kind of art! — under the name These Pink Lips. You’ve seen Iris’s custom work on Cardi B … and me.
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Here’s a solo image of the #neveragainparanadie vest customized by artist @thesepinklips #swipe for a view of the front. I bought the vest from a motorcycle gear website specifically for artist #irisbarbeebonner to paint. And in the 3rd pic — seeing as I was promoting Black women artists — I sneaked in a #yeahoe t-shirt from my dear friend @missyeahoe. She has a new song out called “walking in the snow” on #runthejewels4 #rtj4 … give it a listen or 10! (And 💋to Lola who said, “You’ll probably never wear this shirt.” I told you I would!) #supportartists #supportblackbusiness #supportblackart #supportblackwomen #supportblackwomenartists #therevolutionwillbestylish #three6mafia #femalerappers #legendaryrappers #queenofmemphis #gangstaboo #pussypower All photos by @aperture.delta
If you’re a longtime reader of mine, you know that custom work of any kind takes time; it’s not an instant gratification thing. But you can get a piece from Iris that’s ready-to-go, practical, and budget-friendly: The fabulous “Vote Betches” face mask I’m wearing below with a customized These Pink Lips denim jacket. Get yourself a mask before November 3 so you can look great while getting out the vote.
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1/2 Jacket customized by @thesepinklips , #facemask by @thesepinklips , t-shirt by @aclu_nationwide , #featherearring by @lolitabox185 … photo by @aperture.delta #notanad #boughtitmyself #wiw #ootd #whatwendywore #style #fashion #vote2020 #votehimout #bluewave2020 #resist #pussygrabsback #embodythemessage #fashionstatement #votebetches #fashionblogger #ogblogger #singleearring … guillotine necklace by @jessicakagancushman , lariat necklace by @wendybrandesjewelry
As for the jacket, it has an interesting slow-fashion story. I had stalked Iris’s Instagram account for years, wondering what clothing item I should ask her to customize and what it should say. Last year, it hit me that I wanted the words “Never Again Para Nadie” in yellow on something black and sleeveless to represent the activism of Never Again Action. I couldn’t find the perfect blank canvas in my closet, so I bought the black studded vest seen in the top photo here for the project. What I found already in my closet was, instead, a not-so-blank canvas: A 2013 Levi’s jacket with a design by graffiti artist Lady Pink on the back.
As much as I love Lady Pink for being one of the only big female graffiti artists in NYC in the early 1980s, I never wore that jacket much because despite the big image on the back, it was awfully plain in the front and therefore didn’t succeed as a statement piece. It looked like something from a museum gift shop, which is exactly what it was.
So here’s how my mind works. As I looked for material for Iris, I found the Lady Pink jacket and thought, “This obviously won’t work for the ‘Never Again’ message, let’s keep it moving.” A few minutes later, I took the jacket out again, wondering if I should ask Iris do something different with it, considering I didn’t wear the piece as is. I was instantly scandalized by my own audacity — how dare I ask one artist to alter another artist’s work?! That in turn triggered my “Never Is the Next New Thing™” attitude. I was like, “OMG, I will graffiti over the graffiti art. Lady Pink, meet These Pink Lips! Even better together, betches!” The only request I made of Iris was to paint “Pussy Grabs Back” somewhere on the jacket.
Other than that, I told her to do anything she wanted, which turned out to be everything. I’ve got a blonde gal on my back …
… “BADASS” on one sleeve and, on the back of the other sleeve, Iris’s signature design of full lips with gap teeth.
The lips share a sleeve with DayGlo pink Venus symbols.
I’m thrilled I didn’t try to micromanage the art here — this is much more spectacular than anything I could have come up with.
The Naturalizer VOTE boots I got this weekend complement Iris’s work nicely, don’t you think?
And it turns out I didn’t have to worry about taking anything away from Lady Pink’s original jacket art because the head-to-toe lewk that I wore to a protest yesterday — the message mask, message jacket, message boots, and mullet haircut — can best be described as “1982 NYC subway car meets Joan Jett.” Somehow I’m living my high-school fashion dream while fighting the nightmare that is fascism. Life is fucking strange!
Oh – I love this. And life is very fucking strange.
It really, really is!
Sheila (of Ephemera) says
Wow, that’s amazing, Wendy! These Pink Lips and a Lady Pink collab, years apart – it was meant to be. I love that you are supporting artists, wearing political statements, being fashion-forward…you have it all.
Loving your hair right now – such an awesome mullet. Are you doing feather alligator clips in your hair?? SO 1983!! Love it.
Kudos to you on your activism. I’ve been following the US circus, and am sending good vibes for a change in leadership!
OMG! You recognize the clips … these are actually feather earrings (more to be posted about them) but I saw an old-school 1983-worthy clip attached to the fence outside the White House, in the midst of all the protest signs. BTW …Wouldn’t it be nice if that fence started to function as a structure to keep the criminal inside rather than keep the people outside?