#CheckYourPrivilege with Amie Cunningham, founder of Thief&Bandit, As She Responds to The #BLM Movement Through Fashion and Art

Amie Cunningham, founder of Thief&Bandit

There’s one thing that we can all agree on, and it’s that 2020 has been a year like no other. While it’s been full of changes--both good and bad-- it also has provided many of us with time to slow down, to reflect, and to create. One way of doing this is through art-- a tried-and-true form of expression that unites us all.  

This is exactly what Amie Cunningham, founder of Thief&Bandit, sustainable clothing, swim, and intimates line, has recently done through combining art and activism. A brand that she describes as having a wild spirit that explores and challenges norms, Cunningham ever so thoughtfully and artfully responded to the Black Lives Matter Movement in collaboration with The Good Tee.

We are thrilled to share our collaboration and discussions with our newest #TheGoodTribe Member, Thief&Bandit, with you!

  • Tell us about the genesis of your sustainable brand.
  • Thief&Bandit is a line of hand-printed, handmade apparel and accessories with a focus on sustainability and transparency in both our fabric choices and process.  We take pride in working outside the constructs of the fashion industry.  

    hand print, hand made apparel

  • What is your mission at Thief&Bandit? 
  • Our mission is to be a brand that is transparent and inclusive. We consider ourselves outsiders and see our customers aligned with that idea. It’s important to do things differently if you want to enact change within the industry. Our sustainable manufacturing practices along with our bold prints reach a niche audience that is becoming larger every day which is both exciting and inspiring. 

    bold printsustainable manufacturing process

  • Why did you design the black lives matter t-shirt?
    As the owner and creative director of a business with a decent following on our social media platforms, I feel like it’s my duty to be outspoken about the causes I believe in, especially if it can create support for those causes and help people.  I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind regarding issues that I support and the Black Lives Matter movement is obviously incredibly important. To lend my creativity and donate the proceeds to Black Lives Matter organizations is honestly the least I can do.  

  • Where did the inspiration come from and what was the process to create the black lives matter t-shirt?
  • I have always been inspired by wildflowers, particularly to their perseverance, strength, and beauty. All qualities I equate to the Black Lives Matter movement. My design process starts with collecting source imagery and painting with black ink. Those drawings get scanned and played around in photoshop to create the design. The design is then burned into silkscreens and printed by hand. 

    black lives matter tee black inkblack lives matter tee black inkblack lives matter tee black ink 

  • What has your experience been like with the Black Lives Matter movement and are there any learnings or changes you feel you may want to make? 

    I have been supporting the movement for years, donating funds, and showing support by being outspoken through my social media platform. I am currently diving into the work of Layla Saad to try and dismantle any superior feelings I have as a white woman of privilege. It’s eye-opening in many ways and even though I always thought of myself as an ally and fairly aware my life is being cracked open and I’m becoming conscious of just how unfair my experiences have been compared to my Black friends. I’ve learned these are important actions to take and continue to take to be a true ally.

  • What are you working on for 2020 and beyond that you want us to know about? 
    We are focusing on our extended sized pieces by doing shoots with models in a variety of shapes and body sizes. It’s so important to be size inclusive and also show our garments on a variety of body types so anyone who comes across our brand can feel represented and welcome.

  • It’s been a tough go this year for so many, but I’m sure there has also been some good. When was the last time you had a really good laugh?

  • Well, my kids make me laugh every day. I have three boys ages 5, 7 and 10. Running a business with three kids at home and trying to homeschool through a pandemic hasn’t been easy but they are jokesters and they keep me on my toes - honestly the stuff they say daily is pretty hilarious.

    kids family

  • What’s one piece of good news you can share with us (personal or business)?
  • For the last 10 years, our business has been made to order and we are slowly moving away from that model. We have overprinted and misprinted fabric that’s really quite beautiful and is just sitting on our shelves. I want to use up that fabric by making a bunch of unique pieces that are ready to sell. Stay tuned for some really cool ready-to-ship pieces! 

     Share with us how you express yourself through art! Or even better, share a shot of yourself with a The Good Tee x Thief&Bandit Black Lives Matter Tee!

    Shop The Black Lives Matter Benefit Tee here.

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