We had the good fortune of connecting with Curtis Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Curtis, how did you come up with the idea for your business?

Like many Americans, I was inspired by the election of the country’s first African-American president. Watching household names from the worlds of music, fashion, and entertainment come together to campaign for a new era of politics made me believe anything was possible with the right strategy. Fast forward seven years, I, like many others, thought another history-making candidate was on her way to the West Wing, but this time things seemed a bit different. At the time, I was a former Democratic Congressional staffer living in downtown Washington, D.C., and I couldn’t help but notice that enthusiasm for the 2016 presidential nominee wasn’t quite at 2008-Obama levels. It was at this moment that the Nineteenth Amendment DC Clothing (then the Fashion House of Hillary) was born. I figured that if America were to elect its first woman president, then some of that same creativity and one-of-a-kind artistry I witnessed back in 2008 would be needed once again. And luckily, I was right.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since 2016, our brand has grown exponentially. Our initial shop dedicated to electing Sec. Clinton, now includes shirts for up-and-coming politicians like Stacey Abrams, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and nationally known Democrats such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the late Rep. John Lewis. We initially thought that Hillary’s loss would impact our business negatively, but what happened was quite the opposite. Trump’s unexpected win seemed to turn our burgeoning brand into a sort of refuge for young activists and left-leaning voters that needed somewhere to feel sane in the midst of all the chaos and protests in Washington.

What sets us apart from the typical political paraphernalia you might find on Etsy or on your favorite candidate’s website, is our fusion of pop culture and fashion trends into our designs. Our shirts may reference anything from a quote from Beyonce to your favorite online streetwear brand. We’ve always taken the position that politics won’t work for everyone until everyone feels as if they have an active stake in the direction of the country. To that end, we designed our shirts to meet people where they are rather than the other way around. We believe that for too long politics has felt like a sport for the well-off and well connected and that has to change.

We are most proud of how people you would never associate with the world of politics have come to feel more comfortable showing their support for the candidate of their choice because of our shirts. We have been especially fortunate to have celebs such as supermodel Tyson Beckford, actors Yvette Nicole Brown, Hill Harper, Debra Messing and Yvonne Orji, and musicians such as Keri Hilson all wear our shirts.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of our favorite spots in the city is the Village Market at Ponce City Market in midtown. We love their collection of independent Black-owned brands that you can’t find anywhere else.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to thank my mom and my brother. I couldn’t have done this without you.

Website: www.the19thdc.com

Instagram: @the19thdc

Facebook: @the19thdc

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