Over 160 customized T-shirts and other DAA garments selected for a new exhibition in Turnhout, Belgium
Author: Shykin Veniamin
Monday 4th of June 2012 06:37:16 PM

In the last years over 160 artists and designers customized a T-shirt for DAA- for the first time we have now selected a 'Best Of' for a very special and beautiful exhibition with a message by artists such as Marina Yee, Claudia Rosa Lukas, Romy Smits, Nathalie Hunter, Diane Pernet/Pierre Marie Agin, Tim Van Steenbergen and Jenny Mörtsell. We will exhibit all our customized T-shirts and other garments and textiles with a print or slogan in the upcoming show 'Textiel met een boodschap /Textiles with a message' in the Cultural Center of Turnhout in Belgium this September, so keep your eyes peeled for more news closer to the date. As we speak, over 20 students and their teachers at the Art Institute in Chicago and various fashion designers all over the world are customizing T-shirts for this exhibiton and we're very curious about the results!


Meanwhile we asked fashion icon Diane Pernet and designers Claudia Rosa Lukas and Pierre Marie Agin why they think the fight against HIV/AIDS is still important and what the difference is between when this fight first started in the '80's and today.


Diane Pernet: “In the 80's, specifically 1983 and onward was when we collectively became aware of AIDS. My first experience with it was when Klaus Nomi died and none of us had any idea what the disease was, there were all kinds of thoughts of the government inflicting the disease like a way to kill off the gay community. He had a horrible death alone with it and died in his apartment. We really knew nothing. Then lifestyle changes became a major factor, closing of back rooms and baths etc and actively talking about how to prevent it and change ones lifestyle. Of course it is not only a gay disease, it can come through drugs or blood transfusions as well and little kids being born to parents with AIDS. It is far more talked about now then it was then but sometimes I fear that people see the afflicted living decades and think it is no longer a life and death situation. Well, for sure things have greatly improved, people are not dropping off like flies as they were in the 80's in NYC and beyond. So things are better but still not perfect.”


Pierre Marie Agin: "I am shocked that contemporay films and soap operas still do not draw attention to AIDS,  it’s swept under the carpet and never mentioned. In the films or on TV, when the girl admits to her parents that she has had sex for the first time, they warn her that she might get pregnant or get a bad reputation but they don't bother to alert her to the fact that she might put herself at the risk of getting infected with the HIV virus unless she protects herself. The media and the entertainment industry have a responsibility to heighten awareness about AIDS and to help prevent our youth from getting  sick with it.”


Austrian designer and artist Claudia Rosa Lukas has this to say about her creation:


“According to the World Health Organization (WHO) fully half of those living with HIV/AIDS are around 20 million women. For me this was the motivation to contribute to the DAA project, since I always include women's rights statements in my work and especially in my spring/ summer 2006 collection, when I customized this T-shirt.

Mainly, these problems are based on poverty, oppression and violence, as still in many countries women don't have the same rights as men. There are a number of things that can be done in order to reduce the burden of the epidemic among women. These include promoting and protecting women's human rights, increasing for example education and awareness among women, etc. Therefore my work can be seen as a call-out to all womankind to fight for their rights (between all the women's names  on the T-shirt you can find the word "fight" – it’s directly above the letter "D" in the word "AIDS")

The DAA project for me was the perfect opportunity to send out this message to obtain a broader publicity. The cooperation between Non Profit Organizations and creatives is quite a useful way to promote such serious matters.

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