Fashion designer, advocate for queer empowerment
Based in: Brooklyn, NY
Willie Norris is a powerhouse designer who uses her eye for fashion to create conversation and change. A native of New Hampshire, she now operates WILLIENORRISWORKSHOP out of Brooklyn, where her most recognizable t-shirt styles are embroidered with bold, unabashed messaging like “Promote Homosexuality.” During a conversation with In The Know earlier this year, she spoke to her signature slogans: “Yes, I like to be confrontational in what I make. I want to make clothes that make [you] think, that make you a little uncomfortable. Maybe make you aware of what you’re wearing. Language and putting words on clothing is a really effective way to do that.”
In addition to running her own workshop and modeling, Willie is the director of design for Outlier, where she brings a cozy, colorful touch to menswear. She describes her work ethos as “queer entrepreneurship as a means of defense,” and she has lent her talents to community-centric nonprofit projects for organizations like Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, The NYC Dyke March, and Brooklyn Liberation, the latter of which she’s a founding organizer.
In honor of Pride Month, In The Know is highlighting LGBTQIA+ changemakers making an impact on the world through cultural advancement, community leadership and entrepreneurial innovation. See all of the honorees here.