Artist Sews a Vivid Picture of Blackness in New Line
Fashion can be revolutionary. Aesthetic can tell the story of a people, a political ideology.
Designer Eneale Pickett would like his next line to inspire conversations surrounding the African diaspora, black masculinity and womanhood. He hopes to financially help incoming Black freshmen at University of Wisconsin-Madison while doing so.
“With the money from these jean jackets, I want to start a black girl magic scholarship,” Pickett said. “The people who will be giving the scholarship, reading the materials will be black women in academia.”
He received the idea from UW-Madison graduate student Ashley Smith. People who visit the Insert Apparel website will be able to bid on the Tupac and Amara La Negra denim jean jackets. The auction will support the scholarship fund for a “Black Girl Magic” and “Black Boy Brilliance” scholarship.
“What inspired me for Tupac was my black boy magic line previously and what inspired me initially with Amara La Negra was the black girl magic shirt,” Pickett said.
In 2017, he released several pieces of clothing uplifting blackness in the “Divine 9” colorway. Pickett, who is a member of Phi Beta Sigma, uses his brand Insert Apparel to help facilitate difficult conversations that people wouldn’t necessarily have about race, gender, sexuality.
“My clothing is curriculum and what I really mean by that is that you’re going to learn something today,” he said.
Raised in Chicago, Pickett never avoids having difficult conversations. Instead, he embraces the complex historical narratives in his work to make people who see his designs feel something, a clear attribute of his current line.
In addition to jean jackets featuring images of Tupac, Amara La Nega, SZA, along with an image of Will and Jaden Smith, Pickett chose to include a shirt with an illustration of Killmonger from Marvel’s “Black Panther” holding the heads of Donald Trump and Mike Pence drawn by visual artist and singer Dequadray White.
“I’m trying to be more exact now. I’m talking about America. I’m talking about Trump who doesn’t really care about black and brown bodies at all,” he said.
Pickett said the image of Killmonger is definitely his favorite and he enjoys having conversations surrounding the character. But Eneale also would like to highlight black women revolutionaries as well, especially those in real life.
“We cannot talk about black revolutionaries and not talk about black women,” Pickett said. “My last jean jacket is going to be Korryn Gaines, Fannie Lou Hamer and Assata Shakur. There’s going the just their heads and stars with black radical magic.”
He said the reason why he picked these women was because when we talk about activism, we often only talk about men. Pickett said he also wants people to know a revolution should include all people, including those trans and/or queer.
Pickett has many designs in his head but he said his next design will be SZA because so many people see themselves in her. He said he respects that she is open about her anxiety and depression.
“She brings her authentic self all the time. I want to highlight SZA because she has given so much to her fans and her music,” Pickett said.
All of his pieces will be available at the Insert Apparel website, bidding began last week.