Wear the Peace tackles global issues
Mustafa Mabruk and Murad Nofal, friends both studying finance, began discussing Wear the Peace (WTP) last August when they were affected by the tragedies in Syria, in addition to news of violence and disaster in parts of the U.S. like Chicago and Flint, Michigan.
“We’re both from Palestine and we see the hardships going on there and the hardships here,” Mabruk said about WTP. “We’re living in a blessing right now and it’s unfair to see people who don’t have basic necessities.”
Mabruk and Nofal’s shirt designs depict images with symbolic messages. The powerful designs seek to “Spread Awareness In Style.” One popular design features a gun with the Chicago skyline on the barrel, but with a flower escaping it instead of a bullet.
The 2016 Chicago death toll reached 747, and in 2017 there have already been 154 murders, according to DNA Info. One issue that WTP focuses on is violence in Chicago.
“Education is the most important way to tackle this issue…Many schools have been closing and kids are living in environments where there isn’t much opportunity. An environment where the odds are all against them,” WTP’s mission statement reads.
Their mission is to work towards “a future where people going through a daily struggle to get food and clean drinking water becomes nonexistent. Where families living in war zones becomes a thing of the past. A world where people don’t lose loved ones and homes to unjust conflicts and wars.”
For every piece of clothing purchased, one is donated to someone in need. Mabruk said that they have donated clothing to Cradles to Crayons in Chicago, which provides children in need with essential goods. They also recently donated to Helping Hand for Relief and Development in Chicago, who sent the clothing to refugees across the middle east.
“People buy shirts all the time,” Mabruk said. “There’s nothing [behind it] — it’s just a piece of clothing. This is gonna benefit someone around the world.”
Nofal, Mabruk’s business partner, recalled the moment they conceived the idea. They were sitting in Nofal’s garage, thinking about everything that was happening in Syria. Nofal said that they felt that the public was uninformed about Syria and wanted to educate.
They had a vendor table and sold merchandise at the 15th Annual MAS-ICNA Convention at McCormick Place. They sold 150 pieces of clothing and donated an additional 150 to Helping Hand for Relief And Development, an organization that will send their clothing to help Syrian refugees in Jordan and Iraq.
Nofal said that being Palestinian plays an important role in starting WTP.
“We see what our people are going through, what our neighbors in Syria are going through, Iraq – in the Middle East…Wars that are driven by money. Rather than preach on Facebook — because that really doesn’t do much — We thought [to use] clothing because everyone wears it, and they can talk about these issues,” Nofal said.
“We’re hoping it goes well,” Nofal said. “We’re hoping we can one day reach a level where we can donate straight to these countries. You can’t just be asking people for money, so we’re selling the clothing so we can get the money to start helping these people.”
WTP has donated over 280 pieces of clothing by now. They also recently met Lupe Fiasco and gave him a couple of pieces to support the cause and mission. They plan to continue meeting with artists and activists in Chicago.