My friend tagged me in a picture on Instagram of a T-shirt saying “TWO GIRLS CAN FUCK”. I took a scroll through the feed and there were so many amazing, provocative slogan T-shirts. So I bought a T, a cap and got in touch with the brains behind the brand. Read our conversation about everything from launching with a such a strong identity and message to supporting the LGBTIQ community, feminism and more.
Firstly, I have to commend the message behind each of your T-shirts! I love to wear clothes that make a statement be it culturally or politically. After all fashion is self-expression and how much easier can it get to share your beliefs than by wearing them across your chest!
How did the idea for Frakture come about and what does the name ‘Frakture’ mean?
My inspiration for Frakture was two-fold. As a designer and photographer, I love playing with fashion and creating clean, bold aesthetics with what I wear. So I wanted to produce a clothing line that was high-quality, thoughtfully designed and that made people feel good. Beyond that, I genuinely see fashion as a mode of self-expression and I like the idea of blurring the lines between high culture and popular culture; politics and art; what we wear and what we believe. So Frakture is about celebrating deviance from the norm, whatever form it may take. Sometimes that looks like gender-bending, sometimes that looks like a swear word splashed across someone’s chest, sometimes it’s just plain playful. I think engaging with politics, particularly around gender and sexuality is work that has a serious impact, but doesn’t have to be undertaken in a serious way.
The name Frakture came about because I think so much of our media and political culture seeks to fracture us, to pit our identities against one another and slap labels on us as if our differences are something to be feared. I want to subvert that. And on an individual level, I think our ‘fractures’ are the most interesting part about us.
At just 23 y/o it’s inspiring that you’re already going with your own business and one with such a strong identity and message. What drove you to launch your business and how long did the BTS take to prepare?
It really started from an impulse to make the clothes that I wanted to wear, and that I couldn’t find on the market. And I think that when you’re seeking something different, there’s a good chance that others are doing the same. I wanted to play with fashion that had something different to say, but that didn’t compromise on a solid aesthetic to do so.
I’m a big fan of the idea to ‘launch before you’re ready’. Avoid analysis paralysis and just dive in, because your brand will evolve and shift as you learn and as you get feedback from your community. There has never been a better time to start a business; I jumped online and built my website in a day, nabbed my social handles and business name, cranked out some shirt designs and posted it up. If anyone out there is sitting on the fence with a passion project they haven’t taken the leap on, just do it! There is no bad outcome when it comes to getting out there and having a go.
You’ve studied both commerce and graphic design, how important has your education been in being able to realise the dream of Frakture?
My graphic design education has been essential and without it, I wouldn’t have had the know-how and the motivation to start. And I think understanding visual communication is really important in today’s marketplace – we are consuming so much media on a daily basis, and business owners have to get comfortable with content creation. While I’ll admit my Commerce degree was a tough slog when I was in it, I am so grateful for it now! The reality is that creativity and commerce must mix if you’re to create a sustainable business. To actually cut through, you need to be strategic – business plans are your friend, marketing is how you amplify your message and money in the bank means that you live to sell another day. The back-end of a business is as essential to your growth as having a strong selling point.
The trend of wearing political statements was so strong back in the 90s punk era. It seems that this is having a revival now, particularly in streetwear. Why do you think young people are keen to show off their activism and engage in causes publicly more again today?
I think young people are often disenfranchised with traditional modes of change-making and can find our political landscape tired at best and alienating at worst. I think the really powerful thing about ‘popular culture’ – be it social media, or fashion or music, is that it can capture the hearts and minds of people who otherwise might avoid or be excluded from political debate. I really believe that there is room for all kinds of advocacy and traditional campaigning absolutely has its place, but if young people want to get creative with how they express their social and political beliefs, then I’m excited to provide an avenue for that.
T-shirts like ‘here queer fkn fab’ and ‘Two girls can fuck’ feel particularly poignant given the conversation happening at the moment in Australia around gay marriage. I imagine there’s a cyclical feeling of love and support in response to these; you’re providing the gay community some encouragement that is likely needed right now and in turn, I suspect, people are hugely grateful to you for the loud and proud representation of their sexuality. Have you felt this? If yes, how so?
Again, a lot of my messaging comes from my personal experience – as a woman, as a feminist, as a queer person. Right now, it’s a tough climate for the LBGTIQ community and I feel that very strongly. Sharing messages of love, hope, deviance and pride is one way we can express solidarity and stick a finger up at anyone who would seek to deny us the equality and respect we deserve. I think we have so much to learn from those in our society who experience and enact gender and sexuality in ways that deviate from a rigid cis/heteronormative binary. I want people to understand how it feels when your identity and the way you live your life can be perceived as a political statement, regardless of whether you intend it that way or not. On a personal level, I feel safe, supported and comfortable enough to utilise my identity in such a way and to play with these boundaries. My work is just another way to express that.
How does it feel when you see someone wearing your T-shirts?
It’s addictive! There is nothing like the feeling of validation that comes from creating something from nothing and realising that other people are not only into it too, but willing to buy it! It makes me proud, excited and extremely grateful that people are willing to support small businesses like mine.
What considerations go into the designs of your T’s? I’m guessing by your ‘Mad Cunt’ there aren’t any limitations in terms of language!
Hahaha, too right – there are no limitations on language. It comes down to wanting to play with peoples’ expectations and poke fun at the taboos that often bind us all. Words have no power outside of what we give them – and if a cheeky expletive makes people look (and think) twice, well the more the better! I also try and create designs that anyone can wear – I am inspired by androgynous fashion and like to inject that into my clothes where I can.
First and foremost, it’s about the aesthetic. I would personally wear everything I make and I don’t want to compromise on the look and feel of what I create. So, making a clean, bold design is where it all starts. For people to wear it, it’s gotta look good!
What is in store for the future of Frakture and what else do you want to achieve?
It’s early days, and my eyes are set on growing my community as much as I can. Of course, I’ll be experimenting with new designs and items of clothing – there are so many possibilities to explore and I’m finding inspiration everywhere, so watch this space.
Finally, what does feminism mean to you?
It means celebrating women, in all their diversity. It means being unapologetic in our demand for equality, proudly taking up space and fighting for a world where we are all treated with the respect and dignity that is our birthright. It is intersectional. It means dismantling the dangerous ideologies that tell us we are less-than, and those who profit from these messages. It’s about asking hard questions and being willing to participate in tough conversations. It’s about revering the incredible power and solidarity of women and understanding that you are enough exactly as you are, beyond your relation to a man, and outside of the patriarchy. And for fuck’s sake, it means acknowledging that other women are never your enemy. Do not tell me ‘you’re not like other girls’, because I am fiercely proud to be like other girls. We are not each other’s down-fall, we are each other’s strength.
A huge thank you to Frakture!
I am wearing ‘Open Your Mind’ T-shirt in Medium – $33
and ‘Two Girls Can Fuck’ cap – $35