Behind the designs: stories from our annual collections
Scroll down to read more about the origin of each of our designs.
Financial efficiency: our spending policies
More than £8.00 from each £12 shirt (or £7.50 from your £10 shirt) goes directly towards funding NGOs working to provide legal aid and other vital services. Other than manufacturing and grants, we have very few other costs.
We all volunteer and work remotely and so avoid renting office space; this means that our administrative costs are staggeringly low. Thanks to our national network of student volunteers, many of our t-shirts are sold and delivered in person, and when we sell products online we use recycled & recyclable packaging to ship them.
All of our t-shirts are ethically manufactured, with all our t-shirts printed since 2020 being 100% organic. The climate crisis disproportionately impacts refugees and directly causes displacement, so we take steps to minimise our environmental impact at each level of our opeations.
New: SolidariTee Posters
Salamatea - by Nazanin Rassa
‘Salamatea’ is Dari for ‘health’. This painting is dedicated to the tradition and ritual of green tea or chai sabz (چای سبز) in Afghan households. The aesthetic is inspired by Mokhtar Tea, a brand of tea found in many Afghan kitchens.
About the artist: Nazanin Rassa is a visual artist based in London and Bristol. Her process is rooted in portraiture and figurative representations of the natural world, ritual, collective and self-identity. Nazanin describes her work as a dream-like space which explores the magic within our shared existence.
Original artwork: Salmatea, 2020. Oil on canvas. 61 x 76cm.
Her - by Aboudi Akkari
‘Her’ by Aboudi Akkari was created during the peak of the Covid19 pandemic and a strict lockdown and curfew in Lebanon. It is a watercolour painting on canvas as background with the female features of ‘Her’ in his preferred one-line technique.
Aboudi is a Syrian artist and PR, Arts and Science School graduate based in Beirut. He is a self-taught artist, who has begun to express his creativity through various media and materials from the age of 10 years old. The painting was meant for his own new apartment in Beirut. He eventually sold it to acquaintances in Italy, who gave it as a gift to celebrate a friend’s newborn baby.
Elpida Home x SolidariTee
This design was inspired by a collaborative art initiative at Elpida Home, a community centre in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, who, through their values of humanity, dignity and inclusivity, work to provide and improve humanitarian support for refugees and asylum seekers.
The design was created during a workshop, in which a group of refugees and asylum seekers stood against a large piece of paper, and traced each other's outline. Some overlapping, others distinct by nature, each outline, shape, and figure reflects a constellation of diversity, individuality and community.
by Algohra & Salam
2021-22 design shows artwork submitted by two artists, Algohra and Salam. In the top left corner, the word “حُلْم” ḥalama [dream] is shown in arabic. Algohra used this calligraphy to describe her experience. To dream can be a form of defiance, through continuing to imagine a different world. It is impossible to stop an individual from dreaming. Below this is a mountainscape, which Salam designed as a peaceful symbol of Kurdish culture.
Graphic design by Nazy Raouf
Wahid Taraky, teacher-turned-calligrapher, designed these Tees. As an Afghani asylum-seeker in the Moria camp, he based these designs on the values he wants to see emulated in the future - hope, peace and safety.
Wahid says, “All my hope, love and patience is directed towards forging a peaceful life for my family. I spent my whole life surrounded by war, and I don’t want my children to grow up in the same situation. I brought them here for a new start, a better education, a better life."
The all-new SolidariSweater features our widely loved 'red square' design. The red square itself is a map, dotted with the locations of key events that described this asylum seeker’s life.
Like our 2020 tees, our new sweatshirts are manufactured by London Living Wage employers Fifth Column T-Shirts using a blend of polyester and 100% organic cotton, and are vegan, Fair Wear-certified, and phthalate-free.
Dar Al Naim x SolidariTee
These designs were created by Dar Al Naim, a prolific young Sudanese artist.
The work she creates demonstrates a dynamic look into her nomadic, afropolitan and diasporic way of life.
Her portfolio includes colourful illustrations, paintings, textile work, prints and sketches. Her style is kaleidoscopic, saturated with symbols and images of cultural significance for the Sudanese.
The original 'Red Square' designs
Our original t-shirt and tote (see below) designs are the fruit of a chance meeting between a certain Afghan refugee, an asylum lawyer, and our founder Tiara Sahar Ataii, who was volunteering as an interpreter. Tiara tells us that the red-box design is based on a piece of art sketched by this Afghan refugee, detailing his journey as an asylum seeker:
"We were trying to work out the basic geography of his life: where he was born; where he worked; where he trained as an army officer; where his wife was from; where his son was born. Crucially, we needed the details of where he was captured and tortured by the Taliban, the details of which we were hoping to include in his case as a key part in his claim for asylum.
We struggled to find some of the English transliterations of the villages that he named, and I promised the lawyer at the end of the meeting to take home the map that he had made so that I could do some work on it that evening. While researching the names of the villages that night, I realised that I was holding his life-story in my hands. That map is now on the central design for this year, which you can see on all the shirts."
This design came about during an encounter with the son of the aforementioned Afghan refugee during the same meeting. Tiara recalls,
"During that first meeting, I had noticed that his nine-year-old son had been painfully bored. At our next meeting, I made sure to bring some paper and a pen on me, as I knew that his father was trying to teach him to write in Persian. During the meeting, his son busied himself with a poem that his father had written himself and taught his son.’
‘On our last day in Chios, the father presented me with the poem written up by his son ‘neatly and properly’. This is now the design on the tote bags. It largely deals with maturity and coming of age. I like to think that you can trace the family’s story and hopes through what we’ve produced this year, even though they’re only snippets of what I imagine is going through their heads right now.’