Patta has partnered with Dutch artist Piet Parra for a new T-shirt surrounding the Sinterklaas celebration in Holland. The collaboration marks the 10-year anniversary of Patta’s first Anti Zwarte Piet shirt, as all proceeds will go to Kick Out Zwarte Piet.
Each November in the Netherlands, locals celebrate the birth of the mythical figure Saint Nicolas or “Sinterklaas.” As the tradition goes, Saint Nicholas brings all children gifts each year on his birthday, December 5. The origins of the celebration isn’t quite as pleasant as it may seem, however.
Zwarte Piet, a clown-like servant generally portrayed by Dutch white people with their faces painted black, their lips decorated in thick red paint, with curly black wigs and thick gold hoop earrings, appeared with Sinterklaas in a book by Amsterdam school teacher Jan Schenkman in 1850. Zwarte Piet can easily be compared to the blackface tradition from the Jim Crow era in the United States. For years, many in Holland have opposed the recognition of Zwarte Piet, and now, 46 cities have finally done away with the traditional blackface figure.
Patta’s new collaborative T-shirt with Piet Parra features a Zwarte Piet figure on the front, while a quote from a ’90s rap song, “The Gas Face” by 3rd Bass, covers the back in Piet Parra’s signature handwriting. The “Blackface Gets The Gas Face” tee is scheduled to release this Saturday, November 23, in-store at Patta Amsterdam, Milan, and London, as well as online November 25.
To learn more about Zwarte Piet and the subsequent movement against the figure, follow here.