We are a group of New York artists who believe aesthetics matter. Some of us are occupiers at Liberty Plaza Park. Some of us are directly involved with Occupy Wall Street. And some of us simply wanted to contribute.
We gathered donations with the goal of providing a wide range of professional wardrobe options to protesters of the ongoing photo shoot and political theater action that is Occupy Wall Street. We noticed that businessmen seemed to listen only to other people dressed like businessmen. Meanwhile the media had grasped the importance of the rapidly growing movement and was waiting for good pictures.
Our goal was to offer both media and activists images that could not easily be written off, images that created the evocative confusion it takes to get people to read news articles. For example, we thought that photographs of peaceful anti-corruption protesters in business suits being kettled could be quite effective. And we still think that people in suits sleeping on the ground will will be irresistible to photographers.
The whole world is watching, as they say.
We created a simple campaign to bring in donations — both suits and money. We bought most of the suits at New York thrift stores with crowd-funding from internet donations. We ironed and steamed all the suits off site, then fitted and hemmed them at Liberty Plaza Park.
All said, we gave out approximately 150 suits on October 15, 2011, a day of united global protest. We considered the distribution a sort of performance action, and we all dressed the part. In addition to the suits, we provided hair cuts and light tailoring.
We did not send people out on a march, or into a suits bloc. Instead, we put a tool into the hands of occupiers and let them use that tool in a way they saw fit. In some cases, the result was far better than what we would have come up with ourselves.