Lefty’s’ Clothing Expresses Political Views

By Esperanza Juarez

Self-expression comes in many forms and while the First
Amendment grants the right of freedom of speech, it doesn’t
guarantee everyone will agree with what you have to say.

This hasn’t deterred those at Los Angeles based clothing line
The Original Lefty’s, who have abandoned what naysayers may
suggest. They have taken on the clothing industry and global
politics for the past three years by producing vintage looking
shirts with a modern twist in that the imagery focuses on current
events.

When Lefty’s Clothing co-founder, Cory Danziger saw a t-shirt,
which read, “Voting is for old people,” little did he know that his
frustration would result in a full-blown clothing line. The then
creative director at an advertising agency decided the best way to
combat such “irresponsible creativity” was to create a clothing
line that would express more liberal, leftist views. Hence the bit
of evident wordplay in naming the clothing line Lefty’s.

Danziger, in combination with fellow Lefty’s co-founder Ravi
Dosaj, has put out four collections of Lefty’s gear and has just
debuted their latest collection known as the “collab series.” For
the first time ever Lefty’s has invited out-of-house artists to
create the company’s latest collection, which consists of 10 new
designs.

“For the ‘collab series’ we really went with our top choices,
the most notable politically-based artists in the country and got
them all,” said Cory Danziger, Lefty’s Clothing co-founder.

As one can imagine, the company’s founders have had to battle a
few adversaries along the way and their clothing line has
definitely stirred up some controversy in the process.

The company’s most popular design to date is the “DISS
Destroyer” shirt. The shirt design depicts President George W. Bush
in full makeup similar to that worn by rock band KISS. The word
“DISS” appears right above the president with the word “Destroyer”
immediately below him.

“[KISS] fans have both loved us, featuring our clothing in their
fan magazines, and disliked us,” said Danziger. “One heavy metal
Web site posted a story about us and then had a board to comment
and the comments were brutal. Literally fans [were] talking about
how they wanted us dead. It was kind of scary.”

The “collab series” like other Lefty’s lines has a few shirts
whose message is politically driven. “Liberty” by Emek features the
“see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkeys wearing crowns
identical to that which adorns the statue of liberty.

“We are moving away from poking fun at the Bush administration
and now trying to get to a more forward thinking message and
highlighting forward thinking people and beliefs,” said
Danziger.

This concept is evident in two of the latest designs. “Leaders
of the new school,” by Lefty’s co-founder Ravi Dosaj is one of
those designs. The shirt illustrates civil rights leader Martin
Luther King Jr. and former President John F. Kennedy standing
back-to-back with the words “leaders of the new school” written
between the two iconic men.

“Watching” by Robbie Conal also focuses on a forward thinking
individual. Conal’s person of choice, Gandhi. The t-shirt design
consists of Gandhi, a peace sign, the word “watching” and a quote
by the spiritual leader.

This shift from political objection to progressive thinking is
something that may be an easier pill to swallow for some major
clothing retailers who at this point have shied away from selling
Lefty’s clothing items.

“It’s kind of sad that many of the major chain retailers of
shirts don’t want to touch us at this point,” said Danziger. “It’s
sad because they have the power to influence millions of young
people. It makes you realize how not urban a store like Urban
Outfitters is.”

Not all retailers have dodged the Lefty’s bullet. There are
several stores in Southern California that sell the company’s
items. You can visit Lefty’s Web site at www.theoriginalleftys.com
to find out where you can purchase Lefty’s apparel.

Lefty’s message is deep rooted in American policy and as the
faces and platforms continuously change just as they will next year
with the next presidential election Lefty’s looks ahead to the
future with a word of advice.

“Keep an open mind with all of the candidates and absolutely use
your individual creativity to spawn change, even if it’s to change
one other person,” said Danziger. “That’s what Lefty’s truly is.
It’s Ravi and I looking to maximize our own creativity in a
positive way.”

Esperanza Juarez can be reached by e-mail at
arts@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-3744.

Lefty

Lefty’s’ Clothing Expresses Political Views

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