Cloquet student puts modern twist on 'Rosie the Riveter'

A teenager’s take on an iconic image hopes to bring hope and unity during a trying time.

Cloquet High School senior Emma Swanson designed a logo she thought reminded her of "Rosie the Riveter." She put the design on T-shirts and stickers and is donating a portion of the proceeds REACH Mentoring Program in Cloquet. Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal

Cloquet’s Emma Swanson was fiddling with some scraps of paper after making a sign advertising a special at Bearaboo Coffee.

Swanson, an incoming senior at Cloquet High School, has been working at Bearaboo since the winter when her parents bought the Stanley Avenue coffee shop.

After finishing the sign, she started rearranging the scraps and using a silver marker to draw designs on the black paper. As she played with the design, she started to see something that looked familiar.

“Like a lot of the things I do, it just came to me,” Swanson said. “I took a step back and I was like ‘Wow, that looks like Rosie the Riveter.’”


Cloquet's Emma Swanson designed this logo using paper scraps from a sign she was making for Bearaboo Coffee. The image reminded her of "Rosie the Riveter" and she put the design on T-shirts and stickers to sell with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the REACH Mentoring Program. (Image courtesy of Emma Swanson)

“Rosie the Riveter” is a World War II-era cultural icon who represents the women who went to work in factories and shipyards building munitions and war supplies after men left their jobs to join the military, according to the History Channel's website . The war-time poster produced by J. Howard Miller in 1943 depicting a woman flexing her muscle and saying “We Can Do It!” became a symbol used to promote feminism starting in the 1980s.

Swanson added the iconic slogan in her own bubble and felt she had something that would resonate in a world dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and widespread protests against racial injustice.

“I think right now, with COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, it’s important to remember we can all do it together,” she said.

Swanson hopes her symbol can bring a little hope during a trying time and, more importantly, help bring about social justice reform in her community and beyond.

Swanson put the design on T-shirts and stickers, selling shirts for $20 and stickers for $2 each. To help bring about some of the changes she’s advocating for, Swanson is donating a portion of the proceeds to Cloquet’s REACH Mentoring Program.

The shirts and stickers are available for purchase at Bearboo.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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