In the United States, May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and celebrations are in full swing across the fashion world and the political spheres. Amongst the festivities is a new brand called #OurVote in collaboration between designers Prabal Gurung and Phillip Lim and the AAPI Victory Fund, led by Brad Jenkins.
This partnership came about after the trio connected through their own organizing work around the Stop Asian Hate movement. There was one key question that Jenkins, president and CEO of the AAPI Victory Fund, was seeking to address when he joined the political action committee (PAC): "How do we inspire Asian Americans across the country to use their power?" Enter: House of Slay – a community-centric digital space founded in 2021 that utilizes a webcomic series featuring five prolific Asian fashion moguls (namely Phillip Lim, Prabal Gurung, Laura Kim, Tina Leung, and Ezra William) as a group of superheroes that combat a villain aptly referred to as the God of Darkness (also known as… Racism.)
Now, House of Slay will also be home to the newly-launched #OurVote, which includes a collection of merch including sweatshirts, t-shirts, baseball caps, and tote bags with silhouettes and styles geared towards exactly what youth are currently wearing today. “We wanted this merch to serve as a visual badge, a pledge to take action that you can wear,” Lim shares with Teen Vogue.
Multiple different cultures are represented in each piece, with the word “vote” translated into several languages and dialects from the Asian continent. The initial launch from #OurVote is just the start for the brand, Lim shares, as they will continue to drop additional pieces centered specifically towards battleground states, which speak directly to local demographics and languages, as the 2022 midterm elections approach.
#OurVote is being unveiled officially at the inaugural AAPI Victory Celebration and AAPI Next Generation Reception on May 20, which is also the anniversary of the signing of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, enacted amid attacks on Asian Americans. Despite ongoing violence against the community, House of Slay and AAPI Victory Fund hope this partnership will be one that can celebrate the resilience of the Asian and Asian American communities. “We wanted this to be joyful, to be a celebration. In the midst of all this violence, there is so much beauty and excellence. The collaboration is an embodiment of it all,” Jenkins tells Teen Vogue.