My thesis project titled Fifty Leven. Fifty Leven means a large or infinite quantity. The project is a collection of 14 long sleeves that have been designed with 14 individual slang words for each shirt. The shirts are designed with a range of imagery, graphics, colors, and words. The unique set of visuals creates unexpected contextualization of multiple slang meanings for one word on the shirt. The end result is what I refer to as “visual slang”.
During this process I designed 100+ shirts. The quantity of the exploration as well as the infinite number of combinations for how any one shirt can be made directly relates to the title and branding.
Fifty Leven is about my interest in slang and the way it has evolved over time. It provided an opportunity to explore the way that context is critical to communication. In order to further investigate these ideas I created this streetwear brand.
Through the punk and DIY aesthetic that streetwear culture has embraced I was able to create unusual and interesting graphics. By putting the graphics on shirts I hope to spark conversations about language, slang, where and how we all bring it together differently.
When you buy a Fifty Leven shirt you also get the word’s history. One Fifty Leven package includes the shirt, its hangtag, and a zine. The hang tag contains the Standard English and slang definitions, the word’s etymology, and a bibliography of sorts that identifies the definitions used to create the word’s visual slang. The zine also contains the definitions, the graphics and imagery I used to create the visual slang, and it shows what I refer to as the conversation that created visual slang. It shows the different rounds of design the shirts went through, showing all the possibilities that can be produced from one word, relating back to the definition of Fifty Leven: a large or infinite quantity.
The website acts as a database for new slang. Users are able to order custom Fifty Leven shirts based of slang they define and graphics they upload or select from our vast database. This is an important aspect of the way that slang is created, which is typically through community based interactions.