DIVERSE VOICES COLLABORATION
This project was originally conceptualized in conjunction with Adam Cohn, VP of Global Brand at Converse, as part of the GD495 (internship) course. Students were encouraged to engage creative collaborators from diverse communities, such as (but not limited to) BIPOC or URG community, Black, LatinX, LGBTQIA+ or AAPI.
Students worked in groups with their creative collaborators (whose story and identity) become the hero of a featured campaign. Students briefed collaborators on an original work of art that speaks to their experience and culture, working hand-in-hand with their collaborators to name, brand, and create a narrative for this story and product . Groups created style-led content featuring the artist, and their community in the final deliverables.
Additionally, all produced deliverables are given to the group’s collaborators as a thank you for their time and energy.
WE JUST ARE
My group collaborated with a local artist, Sarah Parker, to create a product led campaign to promote diversity and celebrate Sarah’s story. Sarah is non-binary, so this campaign is centered around their personal identity and the non-binary community as a whole. The name, “We Just Are”, was coined by Sarah and serves as a response to how misunderstood and misrepresented the non-binary community often is.
The overarching goal of this campaign is to shed a positive light on the non-binary community. We chose to do a product led campaign because products, especially apparel, can bring people together by forging common interests. Using Sarah’s art, we created & marketed more options for gender neutral clothing, a digital pop-up shop, a PR box, and social media.
Sarah is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in digital illustration, traditional water based media, and relief printing. Their work calls to mind themes of mental health and one's connection to the natural world around us. With a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and IDES from Penn State University, Sarah is both a talented artist and designer.
To see more of Sarah’s work, check out their Instagram @localfauna
A big part of this campaign was developing a marketing strategy to drive traffic to our social media & digital shop. In doing so, we chose to create a series of posters that would chronicle Sarah’s story.
Oftentimes, posters are overlooked in high traffic areas, so we created unique designs at a large size to captivate a wider audience. What makes these posters stand out is the eclectic fantasy style that is integral to Sarah’s artwork. We used the painting Sarah created, We Just Are, as inspiration for each poster.
When building these posters, we used a mixed-media approach. Each poster is a collection of different images we developed and artwork we created. After making the final photographic versions of each poster, we topped them off in Procreate with an additional glowing layer of digital painting. Each group member’s skillset shined through, and we were left with mysterious images that give the viewer a peek into Sarah’s world.
Using Sarah’s art, we created more options for gender neutral clothing, including a trench coat and trousers. We wanted to focus on rethinking articles of clothing that have traditionally been very gendered. When walking through a store, apparel like coats and pants are almost always divided between a “Men’s” section and a “Women’s” section.
For people who don’t conform to the gender binary, this is another daily pain-in-the-ass that most cisgender people don’t even think about. So when my group was deciding which products we should create for Sarah and the non-binary community, we chose to start with the basics.
Each piece was sustainably thrifted & handpainted by my group members and I.
WEBSITE + SOCIAL MEDIA
We also designed a digital pop up shop / website to feature these products. The campaign’s social media and website are discoverable via enigmatic public advertisements inspired by Sarah’s story.
The website’s design is highly immersive, allowing the user to feel as though they are stepping into Sarah’s fantasy world.
In addition, We Just Are’s Instagram ties into our website through a digital scavenger hunt via IG stories. Within each of our posters is a hidden letter, and when entered on our website, the secret message unlocks a free bonus pin that is automatically added to the customer’s cart. This strategy pulls together all the deliverables we created, while simultaneously engaging our audience. All of these moving parts allow viewers to celebrate Sarah while also creating a supportive space for the non-binary community.
PR BOX + PINS
In addition to our custom apparel, we also developed a PR Box. The PR Box resembles a mysterious egg, similar to that in Sarah’s artwork, and is filled with moss and glowing crystals. The natural world is very important to Sarah and their art, so we wanted to bring that into our Box to create a unique experience for each person who opens it up.
Within the PR Box are pins and a tote bag. Because of their small size, a person can wear these items to safely express themselvess and their identity anywhere they go.
My group and I fostered meaningful connections with and learned so much from Sarah, and our guest critic, Adam Cohn. And not only were we able to create visually interesting work, but more importantly, we were able to celebrate diversity through Sarah’s brilliant art and captivating story.