Since last June, Curtis Thomas has been designing political T-shirts out of his Mount Vernon Square apartment. He’s launched a website, HouseofHillary.com, and filled it with his designs, all of which celebrate women in public life—particularly Hillary Clinton. Thomas, a former Democratic House congressional staffer, says the seed for his company was planted in 2008 during President Obama’s election.
“I was very inspired and taken by how big names from the worlds of music, art, and fashion all came together with everyday Americans to create promising camaraderie and ‘change’ at the ballot box to help chart a new legislative agenda for America,” says Thomas. “I thought that with my past work on Capitol Hill and knack for design, some of that same creativity could maybe help another former senator looking to break the glass ceiling.”
What resulted was a T-shirt company that Thomas hopes will rebrand Hillary Clinton “for a new generation of progressive voters,” he says. He says he’s “not formally affiliated” with Clinton’s campaign at this time, but with shirt slogans like “Hillary vs. Everyone,” he’s definitely doing his part for her cause. The collection of tanks, tees, and sweatshirts also includes more generally pro-women taglines like “High Heels High Office” and “Polls Before Bros,” both of which are some of the brand’s most popular items.
“I call our tees ‘Clinton Couture’ since they are a definite step above the normal political paraphernalia,” says Thomas.
While many of the shirts are Clinton-focused, Thomas isn’t just trying to get HRC into office—he’s also trying to merge pop culture with politics to get younger generations thinking and talking about political issues.
“Since my goal is to create more political awareness of the issues by turning the world of politics into a lifestyle, I try to fuse things from pop culture and everyday things that we can all relate to into the tees,” says Thomas. “The mission of HOH is to make progressive politicians and issues more relatable to the average voter the same way record companies try to market musicians, bring awareness to progressive issues and drive high voter turnout for candidates that represent those issues.”
Thomas says he intends to expand the offering of shirts to include other notable political figures—all, again, women—such as Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Kamala Harris. He’s already created a shirt inspired by Michelle Obama that reads “Michelle Taught Me.” The shirts are currently available on the House of Hillary website and Etsy.