A new clothing brand is making its debut with a mission of not only fashion, but of creating apparel with a purpose.
Dfrntpigeon (pronounced "different pigeon") is an urban apparel brand out of Portland, Oregon, that is run exclusively by marginalized youth, giving them a chance to not only put up a fight against the challenges they've been giving, but to truly thrive. The brand's first collection of shirts, titled Identity Collection, features designs by six young women and men who created them based off their own life experiences and perspectives.
The dfrntpigeon program was originally launched in 2016 by the Portland-based nonprofit New Avenues for Youth as a way for at-risk youth to express themselves through visual arts. It wasn't long before the program eventually gave way to the apparel brand.
The name, while it may seem unusual, came about perfectly in a conversation from one of the first graphic design sessions that New Avenues for Youth put on. When a staff member asked one of the youth members what they were drawing one day, the young person responded, "They are just different pigeons."
After looking at the doodle of a pigeons just trying to survive in the city that didn't want them, the members of the program realized how much they could relate to the bird.
"Our products aren't just fashion," Sara Weihmann, director of social purpose enterprise for New Avenues for Youth told Mashable. "They're powered by a larger social mission to help marginalized youth find a path to success, exit street life, and challenge the perception of youth homelessness."
Not only does the brand give youth the opportunity to be totally in control of the process and teach lifelong skills, but all of the money from each shirt (it ranges from $15 to $26 per shirt) goes directly back to the dfrntpigeon program to further the reach and depth of the mission.
"The strange, crazy, ugly ones," the dfrntpigeon website states. "The freedom-fighters. Those who know what it means to eat, sleep and breate survival. Who aren't defined by the hand they've been dealt. We are here to show that struggle made us better, not broken. We are here to prove that true beauty is imperfect. And when it comes to adversity? We don't just rise above it, we take flight."
*insert a standing ovation*