Article by Josh Paglione, Graduate Studies
Digital Futures MFA Graduate Student Quinn Rockliff has teamed up with H&M Canada and Rethink Breast Cancer, the young women’s breast cancer movement, to design a five peice t-shirt collection in an effort to promote breast cancer awareness. Quinn, a surival of sexual assault, began creating her illustrations as a way of healing from the trama she experienced, and eventually, she began sharing her designs on social media sites as a reflection of life as a survivor, while transferring the responsibility of repeating and distributing these reflections onto a digital platform. The work has also inspired her thesis research which takes an autoethnographic approach to understanding how one can use social media as a survivor of sexual assault. She specifically investigates how a virtual embodiment of self can perpetuate narratives and recall information, allowing for a transference of her emotional labour.
"When I began to seek traditional routes towards justice and healing after my assault, I was repeatedly required to recount, justify, and relive trauma, in order to be believed. My simplistic line style has always explored the representation of women's bodies, this project challenged me to think in a new medium by considering how a t-shirt can serve as a reminder to self and signifier to others to check yourself for breast cancer.- Quinn Rockliff
Photo courtesy of the artist
Quinn said she began sharing her illustrations digitally as a means to interact remotely with people who have the potential to challenge her selfhood, without retraumatization through one-on-one interaction. For Quinn, the technological interface becomes a means to speak loudly and bravely about her assault, as well as a way to confidently explore issues and creative expressions, such as body positivity, nudity, and feminist art. Quinn was then approached by H & M Canada to design the t-shirt collection as a fundraiser and awareness initiative for the Rethink Breast Canacer capaign, in which 100% of the proceeds go directly to Rethink Breast Cancer.
"This was such a great project for me to work on alongside my thesis work, it provided both a creative shift while still fitting into my larger interests of the way in which we can talk about issues with social stigma, especially those who effect women, and how art can be used to inspire new perspectives of the body. I wanted to create art that raised awareness around breast cancer while still being t-shirts I would wear every day and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a charity that gave me the artistic freedom to stay true to my style while highlighting their important cause. I've admired Rethink Breast Cancers work for a while, their style of conveying hard to talk about topics in a bold and accessible way for young people continues to inspire me to rethink my understanding of the cause and continue to support it, it was such an honor to collaborate with them and H&M to raise funds this October." -Quinn Rockliff
For more information:
Related article by Fashion Magazine: https://fashionmagazine.com/lifestyle/hm-rethink-breast-cancer-shirts/
For more informaiton about the Rethink Breast Cancer campaign, visit: https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/get-involved/shop/
The Rethink Breast Cancer t-shirts are available at the H & M Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Mall stores.
Follow Quinn on Instagram: Instagram.com/quinnrockliff