Artists, designers and retailers drive their message home with inventive rage of merchandise



Tatty Devine’s ‘European’ necklace, which has been spotted on MPs Jo Swinson and Meg Hillier.
Photograph: Tatty Devine

When it go about a find to making radical political statements, Jeremy Deller has been there, done that – and now he’s sold the T-shirt. The Turner prize-winning artist’s Fuck Brexit garnering, which includes T-shirts, beach towels and a mug, has now almost sold out as Remainers seek creative ways to vent their frustration.

Sent in collaboration with arts charity Studio Voltaire, Deller’s pieces have raised £25,000 for the organisation. “It’s been the scad popular range we have ever made,” said the charity’s head of development Niamh Conneely. Of an original father of 800 T-shirts, only 60 remain.

Speaking to the Observer, Deller said he was originally frustrated by how much outdo the visual messaging of the Leave campaign was. His own designs came together quickly. “It was a very immediate response. It wasn’t specially clever or articulate, but necessary – they’re just T-shirts, at the end of the day. They’re supposed to be funny.”


One of Jeremy Deller’s Fuck Brexit T-shirt patterns for House of Voltaire. Photograph: Graham Pearson/Jeremy Deller/Studio Voltaire

The artist isn’t the only one doing a bay trade in Remainer merchandise. The Flag Shop in Chesterfield, which sells EU and Union Jack flags made in Taiwan, has been handle out of stock ever since the referendum result was declared. “I couldn’t get them in quick enough,” said owner Brian Tear, who says he has sold “absolutely thousands” of EU flags, peaking in the weeks before big marches.

Meanwhile, the east London precious stones maker Tatty Devine is celebrating its biggest-selling piece in 20 years of business – a £25 slogan necklace that announces “European” and has been spotted on MPs Jo Swinson and Meg Hillier. Co-founder Rosie Wolfenden said that she “couldn’t believe the thirst” from customers wanting to wear their politics loud and proud.

“We have an engaged customer base and our step on it to making more campaign jewellery has been emerging over the last few years with jewellery for the suffragette anniversary and the No More Folio 3 campaign – people want to wear jewellery that expresses their view,” she claimed. The brand expanded to organize a fuller collection, called EU and Me, which includes huge statement earrings and a European passport brooch.

Jo Wilkins, who charges at a rehabilitation centre in Northampton for people suffering brain injuries, said she was initially wary about wearing her European necklace. “Where I get along is Brexit-land,” she said, “and, honestly, there have been times when I’ve wondered if I should wear it out but I do want people to recall where my allegiances lie. And I’ve been surprised – real life isn’t like Twitter, where it’s divisive on anything to do with Europe. I wanted funny comments but it’s really been a conversation starter. You don’t get conversation on the internet.”

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