'Top Manta' street sellers unveil migration-focused t-shirts inspired by FC Barcelona colors

Vendors use moto 'Barça or barzakh' (Barcelona or death) to remember migrants crossing Mediterranean

Three models wearing the new Top Manta streets vendor clothes collection inspired by FC Barcelona colors
Three models wearing the new Top Manta streets vendor clothes collection inspired by FC Barcelona colors / Top Manta
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

July 1, 2024 01:08 PM

July 1, 2024 01:08 PM

The Top Manta street sellers in Barcelona have unveiled two new t-shirts inspired by the FC Barcelona team colors to highlight Catalans with the issue of forced migration.

Reports say that in 2023, over 6,600 people died in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach European shores.

To remember their lives and to denounce migration policies in the European Union, the group of vendors designed the t-shirts with the motto 'Barça or barzakh,' which in Senegalese means: 'Barcelona or death.'

This sentence is what migrants say before boarding a boat to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

The clothes collection is also a way for vendors to make their voices heard and to denounce the lack of safe corridors to migrate and the difficulty of establishing themselves in a Europe that "punishes them with exclusion, stigma, and racism."

Since the beginning of the Top Manta street vendors brand, over 120 vendors have been able to regulate their administrative situation.

There are 400 t-shirts available, and once sold, sellers will manufacture more depending on demand.

T-shirts cost €55 and are available on their website.

Street Vendors Union 

The union was born in 2015 and started as a social project for all those migrants who were in a difficult situation. "There was a lot of police persecution and a lot of violence, it was time to respond," Papalaye says.  

Lamine, another Senagelese man who became a 'manter' right after arriving in Barcelona, says that many people work like this as a last resort.

"Being on the street is hard," he says. "Some of them do it because they have no other choice and maybe it is their last chance."

He firmly believes the union has helped many people in the same situation to organize themselves, to create a project and fight for their rights.

Top Manta brand 

The Top Manta fashion label opened its first store in Barcelona in 2017 and a year later began making their products available online

They sell T-shirts, books, sweaters and tote bags of all imaginable colors with powerful phrases, such as 'Illegal people, Legal clothes' and 'True clothes, Fake system'.

Listen to the full podcast below.