When going through his family photos last year, Jamaican-American designer Edvin Thompson, founder of Theophilio, realized he wanted to carry his memories forward in a more personal way than just in albums. With his friend and Black Fashion Fair founder Antoine Gregory, he came up with the idea to make family photo t-shirts instead. “We need to celebrate our communities,” says Thompson, “and to push forward and find joy again, because there’s so much happening in the world right now.”
Their “Family Portrait Series” was born. At first, the collaboration was a way for Thompson himself to carry on his own family moments through fashion. “[One of the first] was the last family portrait that me, my mom, dad, two brothers, and sister did in Jamaica before we left,” says Thompson, whose family immigrated to the U.S. But as Thompson and Gregory got into a groove, the duo quickly saw an opportunity to use t-shirts to honor many other Black families, too. “That’s something that is very deeply rooted in our culture, to pay homage to people on a shirt in celebration of their life,” says Gregory.