Elisee Lapaix is a Malden screen-printer who makes T-shirts and other wearables in partnership with his wife, Yana, under the name of Wake Up Threads. The line is inspired by the early teachings of his family. Elisee’s father is a retired pastor; he says he “grew up in the church” and that “it was always about the community.” One of the expressions that resounds from his youth is, “If there’s hunger, I’ll help wherever I can.” Lapaix says that his parents instilled a strong sense of social justice.
Elisee didn’t set out to become a screen-printer. He had planned to learn the trade from his brother-in-law and, after his brother-in-law suffered a stroke, he bought the equipment and read and tried things to learn how to do it. He started out taking orders for other people and got his name out there under a prior business name.
After a period of time, he had the realization that he wanted his work to have a deeper meaning. That’s when he started Wake Up Threads with Yana. The meaning of the work is the intention to remember that we are all interrelated and for people as a whole to evolve. Elisee says that many people want to make a difference, but we need to work together to create equity, to ensure that everyone is part of the community and that everyone is included, no matter their color, race, religion, or gender.
The work of Wake Up Threads is truly a collaboration between Elisee and Yana. He creates the designs and Yana applies her computer graphics skills. Elisee then completes the work by setting up the screens.