Upon our 15th anniversary, a letter of clarity and gratitude.
DNO is y'all. DNO stands for love.
DNO started in 2003 as a scrappy labor of love created to represent our city. We first printed Defend New Orleans on vintage pieces from thrift stores, tanks and tees from inexpensive multi-packs, and seconds from discount stores. Over the past fifteen years we've been working to expand our mission and output through value-driven product creation and curation. DNO = Defend New Orleans, Dedicated to New Orleans, Demand New Outcomes, Dismantle Normalized Oppression. Discover New Objects. Down. Not. Out.
DNO was born out of love for the city. Our love, as well as a way to channel the love that so many have for New Orleans. The connection people have to this place is real, and we wanted to do what we could to symbolize that for locals, visitors, and all others we encountered. Always all ways — DNO has never been about us. We’ve been trying to add something to the place we love while taking nothing from it. It has never been motivated by greed or the need to make a mark; the main stakeholders are you and the city itself.
DNO is y'all, and we’re extremely grateful.
We’re motivated by your dignity, grace, and effort. We make products and share ideas that work to build the world you want. DNO seeks to celebrate the universe of New Orleans and chase the utopia that we see in it.
For the last fifteen years we have worked to showcase, uplift, and support our community. We’ve met the most dedicated New Orleanians and celebrated their hard work and spirit. We’ve partnered with organizations that build genuine connections, donated to causes we believe in, and cheered on a city we will forever be proud to call home.
We’ve witnessed times of exuberance and feelings of powerlessness. We’ve lived through optimism, hope, and heartbreak around the changes in our city. We have experienced loss of homes and the passing of friends and family; seen victory and redemption. As much lightness as we bring to our daily lives and projects, we strive to dedicate our work to the integrity and passion that have paved the way for us to continue.
All people are all things all at once. All things are multifaceted and able to exist fully in rich complexity. As we move forward in our lives and work, we seek to embrace this complexity; to hug life and hold it in all its grand, contradictory beauty. As we continue to produce and share we will always remember that the best things in life are not things. Everything we make should be a reflection of this — each product a manifestation of something deeper, richer, and more meaningful than any object we could create in isolation.
DNO stands for more than Defend New Orleans in the same way that New Orleans is larger than itself. In creating DNO, we’ve had no choice but to try to encapsulate the essence of the city in which we reside, a spirit born of its geography yet global in its every day presence. DNO is y’all – and y’all are greater than the sum of your parts.
Thank you for being here.
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