ilmwear was set up at the end of 2004. The intention is to carry on that long tradition of using the T-shirt as your own personal billboard. We also wanted to do our bit, to share a little Islam. ilm stands for the information liberation movement. Ilm is also Arabic for knowledge.We produce clothing with a conscious message aimed at both non-Muslims and Muslims. The website gains its inspiration from a blend of manga, graffiti, martial arts and varying philosophical thoughts: with poems and song lyrics to add a backdrop and insight into the designs. Of course we couldn't help but shout out people like Malcolm-X and Muhammad Ali and also speak out against slavery and racism.
The emphasis is one of building community and meaningful intelligent artistic expression. The aim is to demonstrate in a very real way that whilst all religions and races may have differences, more importantly they share common thoughts and lifestyle choices. This is all continuing in the tradition of the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 60s, modern art and musical expressionism.
So far, customers have ranged from up and down the UK and spread as far as the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. If ilmwear.com helps people to think more deeply, read more, work harder to assist in humanitarian issues and feel drawn towards getting involved in the martial arts; then the team at ilmwear will feel as if they have done their job.
More and more of our media is controlled by clandestine money laundering cartels, giving us less and less opportunity on the street to get our opinions across and build a community. A t-shirt ain't gonna change the world, but it might make you feel better, help you make new friends and be your piece of kryptonite against Capitalist scumbags.
The humble t-shirt used to be the uniform of the poor, the disenfranchised, the dude on the street, when you'd clocked out and weren't a slave to ‘The Man'. Now it's been hijacked for designer exploitation and corporate enslavement.
I mean take Hip-Hop for example: what happened to that rebellious, articulate social commentary, wearing affordable t-shirts and pair of sneakers? Now we got heads blunted from reality, ghetto fabulous misogyny, women pimping themselves and more thirst for bling than a flock of magpies. Too many 'yoot' are lickin' shots and shoutin' the next man down - over styupidness... All because ‘The Man' got us helpless to our situation and hooked on fantasy. The masses crave products from companies that are selfish, racist, enslave the desperate in sweatshops, support State Terrorism and wanna turn our oases into deserts.
Everyone in ilmwear from the designers, to the label makers, to the printers ain't down with that programme. We want give you something that means more than that. Now you've got an alternative. We believe that what separates people are their intentions, their speech and their actions – not what colour you are, your lineage, or how much backing you have. We got a sense of humour and big hearts and we hope you do too.
If you've got a problem with the t-shirt designs, then we're sorry – maybe we're not on the same wavelength and you should wear something else; you got your way and we got ours. If you're down with them, then that's all good!
We need to take a good look at what's going down around us and try and make a change - the right way. Call us biased; but we reckon some more conscious creativity, martial arts and education wouldn't hurt. Like we said: a t-shirt ain't the solution to the World's ills - but it may be a little medicine for a lot of sickness.
Some of us have shirts we bought, back in the days, over 15 years ago and they still bring us fond memories, great tales and sit proud on our shoulders. We hope we can do the same for you!
If some of you are worried about wearing Arabic certain places, then don't be – be safe in the knowledge that top scholars have said ‘have no fear'.