Valley resident Hayden Cleverly recently launched a new brand called Democrastreet Wear, or “DEMSW” for short. It includes items like swimsuits that say “Nasty Voter” and coffee mugs printed with “Voting is Sexy.”
Cleverly designs the graphics herself and she’s working with a local printing shop, Live Loud T-Shirts, in Basalt to do the printing on ethically-sourced clothing made in the United States.
Cleverly said she recognizes that so much of the language and branding around political engagement can be isolating, so she created her brand to make voting more accessible for young people.
“I’ve gotten the chance to connect with people from all over the country through this brand,” she said. “There’s a young man in Ohio who is 18 years old and it’s his first time voting, he was so excited to wear the clothes and be a proud voter and help mobilize folks in his community.”
Cleverly said half of the proceeds from sales will go to Higher Heights, a political action committee that supports Black women running for office and We Got The Vote, a grassroots advocacy group that helps people with past felony convictions restore their right to vote.
With a voter turnout rate of about 56% in the last presidential election in 2016, Cleverly emphasized the U.S. government is not reflecting or adequately serving all citizens.
“We’ve never had a truly functional democracy, because we’ve never had a government for the people by the people,” Cleverly said.
Democrastreet Wear is also launching a new Artist Collaboration series and a Civic Ambassador Program to register voters and to sign people up to vote by mail. You can learn more about these upcoming initiatives on the DEMSW website, Instagram or Facebook page.
This year’s election is Nov. 3.