In the aftermath of the past 12 months, it can seem futile to simply draw a line under these events and move on when many of the after-effects are yet to be felt – the pandemic sees a continued increase in its second wave, with new strains appearing in the UK and South Africa, The Democrats won the US election and finally forced Trump out of power, yet are still in a neck-and-neck race to seize control of the Senate, and the Black Lives Matter movement became a global phenomenon in the summer, and yet by Christmas, thousands of racist complaints were made following a diverse Sainsbury’s advertisement.
If I’m being my most cynical, it can feel like we’re taking two steps forward and one step backwards with every win. And yet, this is what makes every step in the right direction all the more crucial. At BRICKS, this year has been filled with tremendous highs that we’re so proud of – we relaunched this very website in March, released our seventh issue featuring 6 limited edition covers, opened London Fashion Week with a panel discussion on the future of sustainability in fashion and hosted a sold-out launch party featuring our favourite DJs. In spite of lockdown restrictions, our community has shown its resilience and continued to create meaningful content in the face of adversity and always taken the opportunity to uplift one another.
Below is a selection of content from our print and digital archive that we believe you should not let slip past your radar. From climate action, sustainable fashion revolutions and social justice reform to Black movie watchlists and pandemic-proof business advice, enjoy these works from 2020 and we can’t wait to see you again in 2021.
For our ‘Rise Together’ issue #7 cover, we interviewed eight UK-based youth activists from the UK Student Climate Network on their concerns for their future in the face of the climate crisis, and what they believe should be done to save the planet before it’s too late.
Why you should read? Tori says: “Just after the March 2019 school strikes, I stumbled upon a video of youth activists blocking the road to Heathrow with a sign that read, ‘Are we the last generation?’, as dozens of police officers attempted to prevent them. “I am giving you one last opportunity to leave now, or you get arrested,” a then 13-year-old Mia was told. I cried as I watched the youth activists stand their ground, responding that they didn’t know if they were more scared of facing arrest or for the future of the planet. We’ve always believed they have a voice, and those working towards change should be given a platform.”
Welsh creative Nicole Ready shines a light on the people of Cardiff Docks with a newly launched publication celebrating those that live in the area.
Why you should read? Tori says: “I think this is one of my favourite pieces I have written for BRICKS this year because Welsh arts and creatives are so often ignored in the media, especially when it’s by Black artists and communities. Nicole was our editorial assistant two years ago and I mentor her, so it’s amazing to have seen her work develop this year.”
Following the success of Fashion Revolution Week, BRICKS contributor Joshua James Small talks to Tamsin Blanchard about the success of a digital Fashion Open Studio schedule and the prospect of reviving British manufacture through localisation.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “This year, the fashion industry has been forced to do what it has always refused to – slow down. No big flashy fashion shows, no celebrity Instagram posts, and a halting to consumer demand. With this unique opportunity, it’s so important that every member of the industry revaluates their practices and strives to make more sustainable choices. Fashion Revolution is an industry leader in sustainable fashion and we were honoured to have Tamsin Blanchard share her expertise on the topic with us.”
The founder of HANGER shares her expert insight into starting your own brand, authentic storytelling and embracing sustainability.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “About a month into the pandemic, I got an email from Claire offering her time and expertise in whatever way we thought would be beneficial to our readers, which I thought was so incredibly kind. We discussed for a while and decided to have fashion students submit questions which formed the basis of our interview which we had over Zoom back in May. Usually, I’d edit down a transcript to form an interview, but every piece of advice Claire had and annecdoate shared felt like gold and so I couldn’t bare cutting it, so we published the full transcript, give or take a few sentences. It feels especially lucky to have gotten this chance to learn from her incredible breath of knowledge and experiences as she has since left HANGER and is moving onto new projects. This is a must-read for any fashion students or aspiring designers.”
Amar Sall shares his Black Storytelling watchlist with BRICKS, featuring films, television shows and documentaries celebrating Black voices.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “In the wake of the tragic murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade by police officers in the US, and the subsequent international protests calling for justice, the Black community has voiced its concerns to white allies. It’s not enough to be non-racist – true allies of the Black Lives Matter movement must be anti-racist. This means calling out racism at every level, engaging in political action and educating ourselves on Black history, to better understand the fight that Black activists have been battling for centuries. One small way in which we can all educate ourselves is via the lens of Black cinema, an incredible tool to better understand the Black experience and to cleanse your media consumption of racial bias or stereotypes of the Black community. While there is much work still to be done on the streets, this is also an important step we can all take at home.”
In honour of Pride, our June VOICES cover features twelve queer voices across the creative spectrum, some of which are long term BRICKS contributors, who are defining what it means to be queer in 2020.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “This cover was produced by Luke Smith who did a phenomenal job representing the full spectrum of the queer community. Familiarise yourself with their stories and remember to share them with people who wouldn’t necessarily engage in queer experiences. By doing so, you’re allowing their voices to be shared beyond our echo chamber, helping to educate others and to hopefully create a more inclusive, supportive future for the queer community.”
Jonquil Lawrence celebrates and gives context to prominent fashion trends you might not have known originated from black communities.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “To be true allies to the Black community, we must commit to ongoing reparations. The fashion industry in particular has a lot of work to do in understanding and acknowledging the cultural significance and ownership of aesthetics it has appropriated over the years. This read from Jonquil Lawrence on the history behind some of the most popular fashion trends of the last decade is an excellent introduction to this topic, and I guarantee that even the most committed allies will learn something new from her detailed research on the topic.”
OK, Zoomer is a column about art, capitalism and how everything’s going to shit by NYC-based Jacob Seferian and illustrated by Yolande Mutale.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “As soon as I received the first submission from Jacob in October, I was hooked. This column is a contemporary take on gonzo journalism – a style popularised in the 70s for its first-person narrative and lack of objectivity, best used when making scathing yet poignant comments on contemporary culture. Jacob has his finger on the pulse and I often find myself laughing out loud each time I receive his latest instalment. Paired with Yolande’s illustrations makes for a dream team, and it’s quickly become one of my favourite things on the site.”
For our latest BRICKS Voices digital cover, meet an organiser behind Bristol’s history-making BLM demonstration, Liza Bilal, as she discusses racism in the UK, Black Lives Matter and mental health.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “Whether a social justice movement is a local campaign or a global phenomenon, it’s important we listen to the voices at the heart of it. Liza was a pivotal member in organising the protests in Bristol that captured the whole country’s attention, and this excellent interview by Emily Phillips is a great opportunity to get to know the activist on a personal level.”
From our latest print issue, Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin says that mainstream LGBTIQA+ activism must evolve more actively, radically, and at a faster pace to shift focus away from homonormativity and towards a dismantling of all oppressive systems.
Why you should read? Maddy says: “In November, Prishita joined the BRICKS team as our Politics Editor, which has been a very exciting prospect for us and we’re thrilled to have her. This article was her first for BRICKS, it features in our current print issue and is a particularly important one for our readers. Lots of us in the BRICKS community are LGBTIQA+, however, being queer and being a good ally of the LGBTIQA+ are not mutually exclusive. Everyone, regardless of sexuality, would benefit from reading this.”
Enjoyed this story? Help keep independent queer-led publishing alive by becoming a BRICKS community member for early bird access to our cover stories and exclusive content for as little as £2.50 per month.