Artist and Founder, Drew Mueske was born on Guy Fawkes Day in the birthplace of the Republican Party, Ripon, WI. It took some time, personal experiences, and the public’s awkward support of George W. Bush to turn his attention and creative skills towards social and political issues. PROGRESS Label clothing / PROGRESS media began as a creative outlet for a young artist seeking a voice to contradict the American media and popular culture’s blind patriotism, ignorance, and the push for the war in Iraq. As Drew was completing his art degree in Europe, he developed the some original political designs that eventually became PROGRESS Label’s initial t-shirt designs. After returning to Wisconsin, Drew was disturbed by the American political atmosphere and shocked with the mainstream media’s propaganda and push towards war in Iraq. The American media’s support of war and ignorance of global contradictions furthered Drew’s resolve to turn his artwork towards powerful political messages.
As a recent college grad with little money, Drew boot-strapped the initial PROGRESS startup costs with a series of no-interest credit cards. While selling shirts at concerts, parks and parties, the initial credit card loans were easily paid without a dime of interest. He continued using the free loans until he had built up enough cash to reinvest in himself. During this time, Drew accepted a day job at an advertising agency, where he worked on boring projects for mid-sized businesses and corporate clients. With a desire to create original designs and design for good, Drew began donating his creative skills to positive organizations and local non-profits.
Within two years of completing college, Drew ventured off to the world of self-employment and there’s little chance of going back. In the beginning, he worked independently with other design agencies before building up his own design and marketing clients. As the freelance projects grew, PROGRESS Label remained a moonlight business, but the clothing label continued to grow. With growth, Drew was able to adjust his production, changing to American-made garments, hand-printed with eco-conscious water-based ink. Our work continues to be Made in the Midwest.
As PROGRESS Label and Drew’s freelance clients continued to grow, he gained a reputation for quality apparel graphic design and eco-friendly screen printing. In late 2008 Drew re-invested and opened his own apparel screen-printing and design shop – Offbeat Press. Drew is the initial investor, the brains and now the sole-owner of Offbeat Press and working with hundreds of organizations, artists, and small businesses across the country. In 2011 Drew officially moved all freelance design and marketing work under the design office at Offbeat Press, known to its clients as HYPE Visual. Check out the Offbeat Press and HYPE Visual websites for more info on those businesses.
From 2008 to present, the workload and daily business needs at Offbeat Press have demanded Drew’s time and energy, causing PROGRESS Label to take a back seat to client needs. PROGRESS has worked with great staff to meet the growing needs of our customers. After the expansion of Offbeat Press in 2012, Drew renewed his focus to connect with his social and political art and designs. While PROGRESS has teamed up with NYC friends, Yield Media and Feminism is for Lovers – most current PROGRESS shirts feature original designs by Drew.
Over the Winter of 2012, PROGRESS got a fresh look with a new logo, new website, new shirt designs, and new fun. We are working towards collaborations with a small variety of artists and limited edition items.
You will continue to see PROGRESS on the road around the Midwest and sometimes a little further away. Check out our event calendar to see when we’ll be in your neighborhood and come visit PROGRESS at your next street festival or neighborhood block party. We appreciate all the support you have given us; our customers have been an important motivation in our business. Thanks!
PROGRESS Label clothing has helped cover the naked bodies of some great musicians including: State Radio, the John Butler Trio, Michael Franti, Cake, the Pneuma Trio, Incubus, Dark Star Orchestra, Jack Johnson, Rachael Brady, Vince Herman and the Great American Taxi, Crucial Reggae, members of the Matt Costa Band, the Charlie Hunter Trio, and many others.
PROGRESS Label original artwork was also displayed on numerous political blogs and websites including the Huffington Post surrounding the protests and rallies in Wisconsin.