We love a good conversation starter and a brand that has everyone talking is the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based Philadelphia Printworks. This social justice brand and screen-printing workshop was co-founded by Maryam Pugh and Ruth Perez in 2010 and their mission is to encourage a culture of activism.
As a professional Computer Scientist, Maryam who taught herself how to screen-print through watching YouTube videos, was looking for a way to combine her dreams of being an entrepreneur with her desire to positively impact her community. Creating Philadelphia Printworks provided Pugh the ability to be both political and creative simultaneously.
As a social justice heritage brand, Philadelphia Printworks primarily sells. t-shirts that are related to social justice issues, with approximately 75% of all manufacturing being done in house. Nearly all of the products pay tribute to prominent historical figures and movements such as Shirley Chisholm, James Baldwin, The Black Panther Movement and Freedom Summer. One of the biggest lessons that we have learned from the brand is that as we work to create change and to blaze new trails, it is always important to always honor the past and the shoulders that we stand on.
Not only does Philadelphia Printworks release their own product lines but they also partner with other social companies, grassroot organizers and brands to continue and expand on the work of amplifying the voices of those that are most marginalized and vulnerable.