There is a new fashion brand in the market called Dfrntpigeon which is based in Portland, Oregon. The name Dfrntpigeon (different pigeon) came about when one of the beneficiaries of the program described themselves to be different pigeons. The company stands out because it makes unique t shirt printing attires with a purpose by helping the youth face challenges and stigma to rise and take charge of their lives.
Dfrntpigeon prides itself on giving an opportunity to the marginalized youth to design custom t-shirts which serve as a reflection of both their experiences and their day-to-day lives. The brand’s standard line of t-shirts is the Identity collection which is a product of six youths who come together to create one piece based on their perspectives and personal identities.
Launching of Dfrntpigeon
New Avenues for Youth is a non-profit organization in Portland that supports the vulnerable or at-risk youths through career services, counseling sessions, and meals. The organization launched dfrntpigeon in 2016, hoping that the t-shirt company would give the young adults a platform to air their grievances, tell their story, and express their feelings through visual arts.
Dfrntpigeon was founded with one main goal: to help the youth connect with potential mentors. It also aims at enabling the at-risk youth to grab freelancing opportunities or grow their careers in design. The organization has stuck to its goal and has made their goal their new apparel brand.
Sara Weinmann, the New Avenues for Youth director, emphasized that their products are more than just fashion. She further stated that their products are motivated by a social mission to better the youth by finding them a career path or a path to success. Their purpose is to empower the youth to leave street life, challenge people’s thoughts, and change their perception of the homeless youth.
How They Earn
The organization sells its shirts for between $15 and $26 each. The difference in price depends on the design of the shirt. All money from sales goes to the dfrntpigeon program account. These proceeds are then used to pay remuneration and salary to two staff members who have dedicated their time and effort to propel the organization forward.
Remaining earnings are used to pay the homeless for their designs while the rest is channeled towards funding other local creative programs run by the New Avenues for Youth. Like dfrntpigeon, the other organization seeks to help both children and adults who are at risk and gives them a chance to express their feelings using art.
All of the Identity Collection undergoes hand printing by New Avenues INK, a Portland-based screen printing company. New Avenues also own the New Avenues INK for Youth which employs young adults.
The Impact of the Organization
Youths who are members of the organization dislike being referred to as marginalized or at risk. According to them, they argue that these labels make people consider them to have limited capabilities. The majority of these youths are from the LGBTQ group while the minority are unstable foster youths.
Most beneficiaries of the program attest to the fact that art makes them a little stable, with paying gigs here and there. Some find it amazing that they get to design products that get bought, and through custom t-shirts, they get to showcase their talent to the world. Something they wouldn’t have achieved without the dfrntpigeon program.