Wearing your Heart on your Sleeve: Period Shirts Tackle Menstrual Equity

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It is often said that what we wear tells a story. With ‘Changing the Flow’ and ‘The Community Company’s new ‘Period Project,’ we can all help tell an important one.

Changing the Flow, a local social enterprise striving towards menstrual equity through education, awareness and implementation, is partnering with ‘The Community Company’ a local organization that provides the community with a platform to create products and inspire to create ‘Period Shirts.’

The proceeds from showcasing ‘Period Shirts’ which show an embroidered image of a used period product on the chest will help Changing the Flow’s #PeriodPreparedWR project with providing menstrual products to students in the Waterloo Region.  

“We want people to know that periods are normal, so we are putting used period products right on the shirt,” Justin Chan, founder of The Community Company, said. 

From period product images, hand-drawn by London artist Amsa Yaro, to hand-embroidered logos from a Waterloo company, and hand-stitched labels by a local Guelph seamstress, the Period Shirts benefit the community from the first to last stitch.

 “We went for a shirt that is super soft and has a great colour,” Chan said.

“From beginning to end, this is going to be your favourite shirt,” he added.

In addition to raising much needed funds for menstrual products in our own community, the Period Project is doing what is perhaps most important in the endeavor towards menstrual equity: starting a conversation. 

The t-shirts, available in three different designs which include: either a used period cup, or menstrual pad, or a tampon image, and can act as an ice breaker in the too-often stigma-filled menstrual conversation.

“These designs are really normalizing periods. As much as we must be getting period products out now, we also need to be destigmatising it,” Kate Elliot, co-founder and Director of Operations at Changing the Flow, said.

“Saying that ‘periods are normal’ shouldn’t be something that we need to say, but the truth is that we do, and to have someone wearing it on a t-shirt like that can start a conversation.”

To continue this conversation and follow along with Changing the Flow’s journey towards menstrual equity, you can share your own first period stories on The Community Company website, or DM, and follow Changing the Flow on Instagram at @changingtheflow

“Talk about your period and share your stories. It’s a critical part of normalizing periods,” Elliot said. 

Make sure to head over to The Community Company website to find out more about the Period Project, to purchase your own shirt, donate a period pack including five tampons, five pads and instructions on how to use them, and see pictures of the Period Shirts. 

“Being a leader isn’t just about stepping up to the things that affect you. Being a leader in the community is about stepping up and supporting community issues,” Chan said. 

For more information about The Community Company’s work, follow them on Instagram @communityboxes and on Facebook at The Community Company.

If it’s true that what we wear can tell a story, these shirts may just make us listen.

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