Culture Clash Enterprise: Will Anyone Buy a T-Shirt That Shows Images of Gay Sex?
"To put these images on a t-shirt seems taboo, but tomorrow it's going to be completely normal," says 26 year old native Minnesotan Melissa DeBlieck, one half of business venture Culture Clash Enterprise, which she started with her boyfriend.
Recently the company launched the very racy "S Collection," a risque clothing line with graphic images of gay sex depicted on t-shirts. "We decided to start a company that brings art and fashion together, and we wanted to do something controversial. We've called it 'S' for a variety of reasons, including that 'S' stands for 'sex', and 'S' sounds mysterious."
Offering six provocative images (including "Choke", "Scissors" and "WTF") and six different colors to choose from, DeBlieck prints the 100 per cent organic cotton, unisex, v-neck t-shirts in the basement of the couple's Eagle Rock home.
Referencing one of her favorite boundary-breaking artists Lady Gaga as an inspiration, DeBlieck says, "With gay marriage laws being passed all around the country, it's the right time to do this. The world is starting to see that everyone should be loved and accepted for who they are."
DeBlieck is a former Price is Right showcase showdown winner and also appeared on VH1's New York based reality show Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair, where she placed sixth out of the fifteen contestants vying for Frank Maresca's heart. "I'm glad I didn't win or I would never have met my boyfriend here in Los Angeles," she says with a smile.
DeBlieck is now proceeding full steam(y) ahead with Culture Clash, taking business classes at community college when she's not bartending at a sushi restaurant in Los Feliz. Soon, she says, Culture Clash will branch out with hoodies, underwear and skateboards with political messages. "We have a skateboard where Wall Street is burning and another where the Statue of Liberty is all bound up."
For now, the $30 t-shirts are only available online, but DeBlieck hopes that soon even stores like Fred Segal will carry the titillating apparel. "My goal is for even the most conservative of people to eventually accept it," she says.
One t-shirt at a time.
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