Subsequent to being catcalled on the streets, model, artist, and activist Ollie Henderson did what any other millennial would do: post a diatribe on Facebook regarding the trite and overwhelmingly archaic social climate we live in. After garnering attention for her bold wardrobe choices during last year’s Fashion Week (like donning a casual “Suck My Cervix t-shirt), the 23-year old Australian native embarked on her DIY endeavor: “House Of Riot,” an amalgamation of fashion and bold political slogans in an effort to promote unity against inane political oppression and to foster community and togetherness.
“I was tired of the government making decisions on my behalf that I 100% disagreed with and of feeling like there was nothing I could do. I love my country and I want to be proud of it,” Henderson told Oyster Magazine earlier this year. She joins the ranks of others who utilize their celebrity clout to raise awareness like Girls star and writer, Lena Dunham, who recently launched her crusade on women’s accessibility to birth control after the Supreme Court ruling in relation to the recent Hobby Lobby case. Punk’s Godmother, Patti Smith also serves as an inspiration to Henderson’s DIY impetus and reflects visually in the slew of t-shirts that say things like “Start the Riot” and “Sexism Sucks.”
Start the Riot asks today’s youth to become politically and socially aware, and to remain cognizant of the weight our words bear. It reminds us that we have the ability to carve our space in the world, to have our voices heard, and eventually, form a chorus that will usher change. It’s easy to post our rants and thoughts on social media—but are we really being heard? Complacency deters progress, but if we do what Henderson suggests, we can shape the world we live in. We must become involved. Start a conversation. Educate. Share. And most importantly, riot.
Words: Greg Mania; Photos: Liz Ham @ 2C artist managemen; Art Direction: Ollie Henderson; Styling: Jolyon Mason@ Vivien’s Creative; Hair: Dolly for Prema; Makeup: Sasha Nilsson; Models: Isabella Manfridi, Jodee Knowles, and Noel lees.