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CSU alum’s clothing line advocates for social justice

Colorado State University alumnus William Bell dreamt of establishing his own company—one that iterated his passion for social justice.

For five years now, he has done just that with sic970.

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Four rows of hats on a wooden table
Four rows of hats made by sic970, a company created by CSU alumnus, Will Bell. (Brandon Mendoza | Collegian)

Sic970 is a casual wear line established in Fort Collins in 2012 by Bell, who will be selling his products Nov. 30 at the Lory Student Center Marketplace. Everything is pressed and embroidered locally, according to Bell.

The line includes snapbacks, “dome warmers” or beanies, T-shirts and more depicting what Bell considers important messages for the community. 

“My message is not controversial to me,” Bell said. “It’s the message that I want to get out there to everybody. To me, it’s all about awareness.”

Bell’s interest in social justice began from his experiences growing up but were clarified during his time at CSU. A liberal arts major with a concentration in social sciences, Bell knew he wanted to start a business based on his experiences but wasn’t sure how to do so.

“I just kind of looked back at my past and all the things that I experienced—the empowerment, women, anti-racism, equality, environment, world peace—and all that inspired me,” Bell said. “The company is my vision of those social issues.”

While attending CSU, Bell remembers being one of few minorities on campus and in his classes, saying he recalled being the only person of color in a room of 300 other students.

With that being said, however, Bell said he remembers his time as one of great understanding and acceptance.

“I just felt CSU opened their arms regardless of race,” Bell said.

Bell’s solution for the issues in the world all comes down to the importance of education, and he feels indebted to CSU.

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“In my department (at CSU) I would meet instructors and coaches, and they would give me advice and guide me,” Bell said. “And, through this company I feel like I can give something back to this community that’s been really kind to me.”

With the recent acts of hate taking place on campus, Bell wished only the best for the community, and sees only good to come of such acts. He strongly believed in the power of education and confrontation and saw CSU as an incredibly diverse global community.

As far as his designs, Bell said they just come to him, though he does find inspiration in the history of social causes.

Bell pulls inspiration from a number of movements from history, including the civil rights movement, and the women’s suffrage movement.

Women empowerment is very important to Bell, as he was raised by a strong mother along with two sisters. He releases a design every spring, reflective of the empowerment of women.

A few years’ prior, Bell created the One Mic series. Many of his designs included the same emblem: a single fist.

Bell sees the fist as a metaphor for the single mic. He believes we all have an equal voice and that all people need is one mic because no voice is more powerful than another.

“Regardless of color, we all have the same wants and needs,” Bell said.

Bell hopes to continue growing his brand worldwide and to continue evolving along with the company. Bell only hopes to get the messages depicted by Sic970 out.

“This is my love right here,” Bell said. “This is my passion. I’m really excited about this. My views and my ideas and my concepts keep evolving.”

Collegian reporter Audrey Weiss can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Audkwerd.

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