When I last sat down with the members of Make Techno Black Again, an initiative run by sustainable clothing brand HECHA / 做, in January, we discussed the group’s motives, messages and products seeking to bring attention to the Black origins of techno music. At the time, HECHA / 做 co-founder Ting Ding (one-third of Make Techno Black Again) also emphasized the need to focus on planetary wellness. It was an answer I wasn’t expecting, but three months later their team has made good on that promise with the launch of the Anti-Green Sheen Zine II, a magazine for every eco-friendly tip and take under the sun.
AGS Zine II is a sweeping artistic and ecological statement produced by HECHA / 做 in collaboration with fellow sustainable clothing company Official Rebrand (known colloquially as OR?!). The second installment in a now yearly project, AGS Zine II celebrates Earth Month in April by calling out the underhanded corporate practice of “greenwashing,” or the use of eco-friendly language by big companies and corporations for the sake of marketing. All the while, these very corporations continue to partake in environmentally destructive practices while heralding themselves as green heroes and conferring the responsibility onto the individual consumers of the world.
This mission statement is plastered across the first page of the magazine, and what follows is as intriguing and engaging as any major print media, regardless of content. Structured like an art book, the content in the magazine conforms to no text margins, art style, or color scheme. It is not only eye-catching, but reflective of the contributors to the magazine, who themselves make up a diverse panel of pro-environment artists.
The people who helped make the AGS Zine II possible come from all walks of life and embody the diverse spirits of HECHA / 做 and (OR?!). From Portland-based transsexual communist artist Abby Castillo, to editor of the bilingual Taiwanese arts magazine Frisson Victoria Giang, to the harmonious-future-seeking music label and magazine publisher Future Ethics, the AGS Zine II is as wonderfully inclusive as it is bluntly honest about saving the environment.
It hearkens back to Ding’s fervent plug for the environment during our previous interview. When I asked what she, her HECHA / 做 cofounder Luz Angelica Fernandez, and fellow Make Techno Black Again member DeForrest Brown, Jr. (AKA Speaker Music) predicted as their group’s next step, she responded: “The planet! We’re so busy fighting each other, the discourse is around race and people and liberals versus Republicans, but have we all seen the weather lately? The hurricanes, the burning wildfires in California?
Everything that we’re doing, including the vaccine, we’re just running away from an imminent total environmental collapse. I’m trying not to freak out, but I think we need to start freaking out. It’s been incredibly warm this winter, the weather is all fucked up, and that’s the conversation I don’t think anybody wants to think about.”
HECHA / 做’s union with OR?! also makes good sense. Both brands are fighting for diversity and fair representation of marginalized communities. Through OR?!, non-binary artist MI Leggett brings new life to discarded clothing by way of painting, drawing, and more. In the process Leggett also removes the gender associated with the clothes, creating a new piece suitable for people on any point of the identity spectrum. It’s only natural that their next step would be to establish greater equity for nature itself.
The AGS Zine II features 19 contributors in total, all of whom offered their own unique takes on making one’s life more sustainable and eco-friendlier through various personal practices. The content ranges from guides, to art, to poems, to essays, and even to music, with the soulful techno stylings of Speaker Music rounding out the project.
Whether you’re drawn to the comics, writings, and art of contributors that share their stories of how they live for the environment, the unexpected and helpful guides to meditating with trees and new types of gardening, or the music that brings the colorful, quirky, and frantic nature of the magazine to life, the AGS Zine II has something for everybody looking to show off their green thumbs this Earth Month.
Read the AGS Zine II here. For more information on fashion and sustainability, visit hechanyc.com.