Innovation That Matters

Refuse Club Fall 2019 | Photo source

Clothing store using fashion to promote social justice


The Refuse Club is using style as well as emerging social media platforms to highlight social injustice in China.

Spotted: Inspired by the works of Salon des Refusés by Édouard Manet and Gustave Courbet, New York-based designers Yuner Shao and “Stef” Puzhen Zhou are using their brand — The Refuse Club — to create awareness of censorship and the #MeToo movement in their home country of China. 

Recent designs included screen-printed messages such as “404 not found,” alluding to Chinese censorship of Internet searches related to social issues like #MeToo.

“We chose to discuss #MeToo because many Asian people we know think that feminism has become merely ‘overcorrection,’ without really understanding it. But these abuses are also happening in China. We don’t want the next generation to be afraid to speak out,” Shao told Jing Daily.

The brand’s promotion strategy is focused heavily on using social media to target influencers and stimulate discussion. They have set up a WeChat account to discuss issues like sexual harassment and censorship in the country. Shao and Zhou are also promoting the usage of Kwai, an emerging social media video platform popular with those living in rural areas of China.



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