eppchez yo-sí yes Serves as Haverford’s Fall 2023 Friend in Residence
The Quaker inventor, activist, and organizer hosted programming relating to ethical capitalist practices, sustainable design, and gender-affirming accessories.
This fall, eppchez yo-sí yes, a Quaker playwright, inventor, and organizer, recently visited Haverford as part of the Friend in Residence program. Sponsored by the Quaker Affairs office, each semester the program hosts a member of the Quaker community to detail their life’s work, connect campus life at Haverford to real-world experiences, and better connect the community to its Quaker origins. yes, who uses ey, em, and eir pronouns, offered a range of programming at Haverford between Sept. 25 and Oct. 5.
yes’ programming at Haverford told eir story and activism pursuits, ranging from eir experiences as a gender-expansive person, in founding a company, and in fashion design. ey focused on exploring environmentally sustainable alternative materials and production processes for eir own line of ergonomic shapewear intended for gender-expansive people.
“As an inventor, I design low-tech solutions to affirm gender exploration. I am the founder of Darb Garb, and cofounder of Euphorm, the design home for my better chest binder (the flat strap),” yes says.
Darb Garb, eir brand of gender-affirming accessories, takes commissions for wearable art and prosthetics. Meanwhile, Euphorm is a new company yes founded to produce trans-affirming, form-changing garments. These design products are only one avenue of eir activism, however.
“I [also] organize around reparations and wealth redistribution, normalizing and helping others strategize around how to redistribute wealth and energy to communities that have been intentionally exploited,” yes continues. yes is also a doula and spiritual companion, and much of eir work focuses on helping others on journeys of self-discovery and affirmation, particularly with respect to gender and wealth redistribution.
During eir time at Haverford, yes hosted events ranging from a round table discussion about eir experiences in ethically engaging with capitalism as the new founder of Euphorm, to workshops on sustainably designing products using “leather” derived from SCOBY, the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that produces kombucha. Eir programming concluded with Alma’s Engine; Soul Fueling Songs, a solo performance of remixed songs from Quaker youth programs, original music, and excerpts from eir own writing.
Director of Quaker Affairs Walter Hjelt Sullivan has known yes since 2009. They reconnected in 2014 as part of the Quaker Voluntary Service House in Philadelphia where eppchez was a resident participant. They are now members of the same Quaker Meeting. Sullivan noted that yes’ life commitments align with some of the deepest values that Haverford hopes to espouse.
“In my personal observation, the core of eppchez’s work is to be faithful to the prompts of the spirit and guided by divine wisdom,” Sullivan says. “In this way, eppchez has been a model to others in our Quaker Meeting and to me personally.”
yes explained that today’s world has led to a life of organizing and advocacy to match eir Quakerism.
“The [Quaker] value of integrity, in particular, took root deep in my core formation,” yes says. “We live in a world that is fundamentally out of alignment with what I know integrity to be. And so I have that spirit-fueled drive for change.”