Wearing your beliefs for social justice

Referendum inspiring designers to become fashion activists for this generation

Fashion activism is nothing new; the mini skirt was a defiant statement of its time, and the slogan t-shirt has been a political tool since its inception. Repeal sweatshirts are one of the most controversial items of the moment but they are not the only items popping up ahead of the upcoming referendum.

Stacey Grant-Canham, originally from Ballinacurra Gardens, completed a degree in fashion at LSAD before doing a MA at Kingston University in London. She now works as a lecturer teaching fashion design in Cardiff and in her spare time runs her design led lifestyle brand, Black & Beech.

Stacey explained, “During my maternity leave period in 2017, I started Black & Beech from my kitchen table selling teething jewellery that mums can wear and babies can fiddle and play with, whilst breastfeeding, being worn in a sling, or whenever baby needs a distraction. Following Brexit I became a bit more political with the brand and this was cemented with the re-election of the Torys and Donald Trump in the US.

“The fight for women’s rights to choose has been something I have been mindful of too my whole life as a girl and woman in Ireland. In 2003 I instigated a three night sell-out performance in LSAD of The Vagina Monologues that some Limerick folk might remember. So it was with this in mind that I came up with the slogan “A Mother’s Place is in the Resistance” and this is emblazoned on our ethically sourced garments which fundraise for Abortion Support – an organisation that helps women with funds and information in travelling for terminations. I felt a huge sense of guilt that I couldn’t be at home campaigning nor could I vote so we released a small Repeal range focused on parents and gave funds from that to Repeal the 8th.

“The idea for the ‘Yes’ necklace came from a conversation, and I had 50 made which rapidly sold out so we are currently restocking. We gave all the profits of these to Together for Yes and have also donated to Terminations for Medical Reasons and In Her Shoes – Women of the 8th.

“I believe the movement is one where symbolism has played a powerful part and people’s desire to wear their beliefs is unique in its importance to those involved. So many difficult but ultimately honest conversations will stem from the wearing of these products and I feel really passionate about the movement to repeal the 8th and afford Irish women the bodily autonomy we deserve.”

View Stacey’s full collection at blackandbeech.com.


By Olivia O’Sullivan

This article appeared in the Limerick Post, 5th May 2018