Who We Are
Class Trouble is a collaboration between two pages: The Comrade Closet and Subversive Thread. The Comrade Closet is moderated by Andrea and Subversive Thread is mainly co-moderated by Millie and Andrea — but as autonomists and anarchists, the number of people involved in our project changes from time to time based on what feels good for the people involved and their capacity. Our work is deeply informed by our learnings and conversations with autonomist comrades and community. Andrea is a disabled anarchist Filipinx femme and Millie is non-binary Latinx — we’re both millenials and proud of all the ways in which our generation has single-handedly killed so many capitalist industries! (Actually we wish the hyperbolic headlines were more true).
How did Class Trouble start?
The Comrade Closet was created in January 2019 because Andrea had been long-term unemployed or underemployed and was finding it more and more difficult to find a sustainable job due to her chronic illness and disability. She figured she’d try creating clothing designs that expressed her politics very clearly (anarchist and anti-capitalist) and see where things went. Over time she began sharing more and more of her writing on Instagram, and as she was able to find remote and freelance work her focus shifted from clothing designs towards writing and graphic design. In February 2019, Andrea co-founded Subversive Thread with Millie and initially the designs were more focused on direct action and protest imagery — but eventually the theme pivoted more towards leftist education and autonomist pedagogy because that’s more of Millie’s heart work and experience as an anarchist educator.
Since then, we’ve also been able to fundraise for, contribute to, and signal boost a lot of requests for financial support in our community and network, so we’re glad to be able to use the pages to materially support BI&POC with meeting urgent needs.
Where and how are your products made?
We use a print and ship manufacturer called Printful because it is the most feasible and accessible for our members with chronic illness, mobility limitations, and financial restrictions. Printful makes this work possible because it doesn’t require buying in bulk, storing and tracking inventory, printing, and shipping each order individually. Printful also directly integrates and syncs with our Shopify virtual storefront. You can read more about Printful here.
Class Trouble’s orders are shipped from Printful’s fulfillment centers in Los Angeles and North Carolina. The majority of our designs are printed on Bella + Canvas shirts. However, we also use Anvil and Gildan shirts where colors and sizes are not available from our supplier in Bella + Canvas (colors: pink and maroon, sizes: 3XL and up).
Thoughts on Sustainability?
We believe that sustainability is important, and we also recognize that conversations on sustainability need to include access, labor, and capital. It’s not easy to balance so many different forms of access and need — financial, physical, racial, environmental — for ourselves, for people who want to support us, for the workers who create the merchandise that our designs are printed on, and for the global ecosystem. We often find that these discussions focus in on one or two points of contention but rarely encompass everything from end to end production to the access needs of individuals or groups trying to claw out a livable life for themselves under capitalism.
Exploitation exists at every level of production under capitalism. Even brands that describe themselves as “ethically produced” have their contradictions — they are often owned by people who have greater access to capital [read: white and/or wealthy business owners] who profit from charging more for their products and who, consequently, lock out those with limited resources [read: poor Black, Brown, and Indigenous people] from participating in a “sustainable” economy. The “Cruelty Free” produce we see at market is often the result of underpaid, poor people of color enduring exploitative and predatory employers. “Fair Trade” is no better; and “Made in the USA” is often code for Made in Prisons. These dynamics only perpetuate the racialized and gendered hierarchies of wealth while doing so in the name of sustainability.
Capitalism also works to lock most people into lifelong wage labor in order to survive by tying “benefits” like health care and paid sick days to full-time employment. Self-employment is precarious for anyone, with the exception of those who have access to financial safety nets. And from the frameworks of racial, disability, and environmental justice, we know that by and large the biggest sources of pollution and planetary destruction are the states, corporations, and capitalist class who own the lion’s share of wealth and resources.
As a small collective, it is impossible for us to resolve all the contradictions of capitalism ourselves. Nonetheless, we are striving to find ways to mitigate our impact by partnering with local printers and sourcing reusable and dead stock were possible.
Part of our process is to consider these additional questions:
- Who are the workers - and who are the owners?
- What forms of access did or do the owners have?
- How are profits distributed? Are they equitable?
- What are the cost of goods sold? Who can afford them?
- When we say something is sustainable, sustainable for who?
I don’t see my size on your website, what can I do?
Some sizes may not be available due to limitations in our manufacturer’s inventory. If an item is not available in your size, please message us and we will try to customize a product using a different brand or item!
Interested in collaborating with us?
Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you have in mind!