Only Positives Co. hopes to dispel negative Philly stereotypes through photography, streetwear

Only Positives Co. in West Philly wants to change the negative reputation of the city’s urban areas through streetwear and photography.

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Rahmi Halaby is the founder and CEO of Only Positives Co. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Rahmi Halaby is the founder and CEO of Only Positives Co. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Only Positives Co., a small T-shirt and photography business, wants to dispel negative stereotypes of big cities.

It was founded by Rahmi Halaby and his childhood friend Will Miller. Growing up in West Philadelphia and suburban Media (where he and Miller met), Halaby became frustrated by how the media portrayed Philadelphia as violent and undesirable.

“We really felt there is a lot of positive, creative, innovative things going on in urban spaces, and especially, we live in Philadelphia, so that’s what we focus on. We really wanted to try to bring these positive spaces to light,” Halaby said.

One of the T-shirt designs shows three skeleton hands playing rock-paper-scissors on the front, and on the back, it shows flowers growing out of the barrel of a handgun.

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Halaby said it emphasizes how people can resolve disputes peacefully.

“We thought about it, and we were like, ‘What’s the simplest way you solve conflict?’ It’s through rock, paper, scissors. If everyone did RPS over every argument, we wouldn’t have any issues,” he said.

Rock, paper, scissors skeleton hands are printed on an Only Positives Co. T-shirt. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Other shirts are more casual, featuring a cassette tape and a boom box promoting the company’s “Sunday Vibes” music playlists.

The goal of the playlist, which is released every Sunday, is to create a weekly collection of relaxing, positive music to prepare listeners for the upcoming week.

The company also puts on events featuring notable photographers and musicians.

“We do an event called Shutter Speak, where we have prominent photographers have a discussion panel and invited up-and-coming photographers to learn from them and ask questions,” he said.

Halaby said he wants Only Positives to strengthen bonds in urban communities.

The business sells about 5,000 shirts per year, mostly through their online store. Halaby hopes to open a brick-and-mortar store in the next couple of years.

Only Positives’ next collection will be released in September.

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