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!