News & Politics

How DC’s The Outrage Designed the Perfect T-Shirt in Two Hours

Within minutes of Bill Cosby's release from prison, the idea for the "Free Britney Not Cosby" shirt was born.

Photo courtesy of The Outrage.

When Rebecca Lee Funk launched the Outrage five years ago, the DC shop’s activist t-shirts and other swag were all designed by her, alone at a computer. Now the 14th Street business has a staff of women ready to react whenever outrageous news breaks. This week’s double blow of Britney Spears losing the bid to end her conservatorship and Bill Cosby getting out of prison was exactly the kind of moment they’re primed to pounce on. Within two hours of the Cosby news, the Outrage’s newest t-shirt, Free Britney Not Cosby, was for sale online. 

So, how did it come together so quickly? Funk says as soon as she heard about Cosby on Wednesday, she hopped on Slack and asked her colleagues for ideas. “And it was probably like 30 seconds before another team member was like, ‘free Britney, not Cosby.’ I was like yeah, that’s it,” says Funk. “When you’ve done this for so long, you know.”

The Outrage’s graphic designer crafted three options for the shirt, Funk picked the winner, and mock-up photos were created of the chosen design. Then the shirt went live.

“I don’t know that we would’ve done a shirt individually on either of these [topics],” says Funk. “But the juxtaposition, it just felt like a hell-scape of misogyny.”

Proceeds from all of the Outrage’s products benefit various progressive groups. The Free Britney Not Cosby design (which is also now available on stickers and buttons) benefits anti-sexual violence organization RAINN, as well as Project LETS, an advocacy group for people who’ve experienced mental illness and trauma. Funk says she expects the shirts will raise $10,000 for the groups by this weekend.

While the Outrage was born during the 2016 presidential campaign—and the ensuing Trump administration kept the shop very busy—Funk says the events of this week show there are still plenty of reasons to stay angry. “We’re in a post-Trump world, but this stuff wasn’t all created under Trump and it didn’t all go away with him.”

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.