"Dear [Insert Rejected Applicant Name Here],
On behalf of the _______ ______, I would like to thank you for submitting examples of your work for _________. In our first year for this exhibition, we received over __ entries. 
Although your work was not chosen for the exhibition this year, we were impressed by your submissions and hope you will be open to exhibiting with us in the future. Thank you again for sharing your work with us and best wishes as you pursue your artistic goals.
With gratitude,
A Gatekeeper "


It's a similar story everywhere. You have dreams of being an artist. You pour your heart and soul into your projects. You spend a bunch of money on submission fees or applications. You agonize over a bare bones resume. You wonder how you're supposed to build any buzz if the big arts organizations only take people who don't need anything else on their resume. Your heart sinks when your bio barely makes up two sentences. You decide to try anyway. You wait for months and months on a response only to receive a form rejection where they couldn't even fill in your name on the greeting line. 

Maybe you despair. Maybe you give up on your dreams. Maybe you keep going with the same optimistic mantra that you're one rejection closer to an acceptance. Maybe you still believe in your dreams. Maybe they finally die with that one "last hope application" that still ends up with a rejection. 


You don't understand. You took the classes. You put your heart and soul in. You did everything you were told to do. You attended the seminars. You did your duty. What was it? Was it your age? Was it your gender? Was it because you grew up poor? Was it race? Was it because you chose to raise a family? Was it because you don't live in NYC or LA?  Was it because you don't have that fancy MFA? Was it...


...was it that I'm not really an artist? 


That's the part that hurts. That's the part that tears you to shreds at night when you're staring at a blank canvas that won't talk back to you. It's the part that makes you give up on that novel. It's the part that tells you...

"Maybe it's not meant to be." 

But you pick up the brush anyway. You get back to typing. You get back to mixing and editing. You pick up the camera. You get your heart ready for another round of rejection and press forward. 

Because your art is more than someone's opinion of what's good. Because you know in your heart that when you put in that effort you're doing something only you can do. Because your life didn't take you this far for an email or letter to take down those dreams you nurtured into the wonderful art you created. Because the sun never sets on your dreams. 

But in case they have, I hope this can reassure you, because it's absolutely true...

The beginning of every sunset ends with a sunrise. 

I've been rejected everywhere. I'll even admit that I gave up hope. Maybe this is a hopeless venture as well. 

But I gotta try to find a place where my rejected art can be accepted. 

So here we are. 


Rejection Letter Apparel. 


All the designs were made from art that's been rejected. No exceptions. Only rejects get accepted here.  

R.L.A. is for those of us who got passed up for a job, for those of us denied entry to that dream university, who didn't get the prize a, who didn't get a spot in that residency...you name it. 

This is for those dreamers who don't give up. For those broken hearts trying to find that hope again. For the ones whose genius isn't being recognized for what it is. For the little girls who get told no, but persist. 

 R.L.A. is wearable art for rejected artists. 

This is for you. 

They're the ones who lost out by rejecting you not the other way around. 

Thanks for reading this far. Welcome to our home. 




-The Gatekeepers