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#HoodsUp — Artist Cacy Forgenie Releases “Iron Flag” Hood Design For Le Collektor

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Almost two years ago, I wrote about Le Collektor, a then-nascent brand focusing on cozy sweatshirts with interchangeable hoods featuring bold prints, each designed by a street artist, illustrator, photographer, painter, or graphic designer. To become “collektors,” customers would need to buy one of the brand’s premium knit-fleece jackets, which come in basic shades like heather gray and navy blue. Each sweatshirt features a zip-up front as well as a zipper along the collar that allows wearers to detach the solid-colored, built-in hood and swap it out with one of the collectible, limited-edition, artful hoods (which are sold separately). Well, I now have the pleasure of introducing all of you to the most creative hood design yet, the handiwork of my dear friend Cacy Forgenie AKA Boudicon: the “Iron Flag” Hood ($40 for hood alone; $135 for hood and jacket at LeCollektor.com).

If the name “Cacy Forgenie” sounds familiar, it’s because this Bronx-born phenom has penned pieces for The New York Post, VIBE, Mass Appeal, GlobalGrind.com, Flavorpill.com, and more), and his paintings, photographs, and mixed media works have been displayed at MOMA’s PS1, the RUSH Arts Project Space in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, EXIT Art in New York City, and London’s Centenary Gallery.

For his Le Collektor “Iron Flag” hood, Forgenie took on the challenge of crafting a design that would reflect the state of the black community in America today. “I knew that I had to discuss social media, how it brought black people together to share their experiences, how it brings attention to how our communities are hurting and policed by the state,” Forgenie reflects. “Critics say ‘hashtag activism’ does nothing, but I think that’s nonsense because we’ve seen what hashtags can do: look at #Ferguson, #OscarsSoWhite and #YouOkSis. I wanted to show the naysayers that black folks are using new tools to solve a very old and stubborn problem: the policing and the murder of black people in America.”

To accomplish this goal, Forgenie turned to David Hammons’ “African-American Flag,” which was created in 1990, the same year that David Dinkins was sworn in as mayor of New York City. In this work, Hammons famously used the Pan-African color scheme employed by Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association — black, green, and red — and applied these hues to the stars-and-stripes design of the United States flag.

Forgenie also drew inspiration from another powerful Hammons work, “In The Hood,” a wall-mounted hood seemingly snipped off a dark green sweatshirt, with wire holding up the rim and allowing the hood to preserve its shape. In 2012, when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot in his Florida neighborhood, Geraldo Rivera attributed the senseless killing of an innocent child to his wearing a hoodie — an incendiary comment that exacerbated the racial tensions in the country. During this time, Forgenie wrote an incredibly insightful piece for Mass Appeal that questioned whether Hammons’ 1993 “In The Hood” had foretold the Trayvon Martin tragedy, examined the history of the hood as both a functional garment feature and as a historically-rich artifact, and explored the relevance of Hammons’ conceptual art piece in the present time.

Drawing from these two artworks then, Forgenie created “Iron Flag,” a hood that features the same color scheme found in “Afro-American Flag” but which replaces the stars on the American flag with hashtags to denote the importance of social media in modern-day activism. Remember the #HoodsUp hashtag used by those expressing solidarity with the Martin family and protesting the reckless and racially-motivated actions of his shooter, George Zimmerman, not to mention the flawed justice system that allowed Zimmerman to walk free after killing an unarmed black teen? Well, the “Iron Flag” hood embodies that sentiment, making it a true work of wearable art and one sure to spark some much-needed conversations.

For more on Cacy Forgenie and his work, visit CacyForgenie.com

To purchase your own Iron Flag hood and jacket, visit LeCollektor.com

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