Wear Clothes, Give Clothes

romain and wilkinson

Dylan Wilkinson (left) and Southeastern alumnus Tony Romain (right)  are two
graphic designers working in the Hammond area who decided to create the
“Wear Clothes, Give Clothes” campaign to give shirts to the homeless and impoverished.
  The Blue Hawk Apparel owners will donate one plain shirt to someone in need for every
“Wear Clothes, Give Clothes” shirt that is purchased through their Teespring
campaign in March. Shirts will be available in black, blue and green and will cost
approximately $21. 
The Lion’s Roar / Sara Patrick

There are over 600,000 people across the nation without access to food, shelter and clothing. Two local graphic designers teamed up to create a clothing company, which will launch the “Wear Clothes, Give Clothes” campaign nationally to combat this statistic. 

“We’re all wearing clothes, but there’s a lot of people that don’t have any,” said Tony Romain, a 2013 graduate in graphic design and past staff member at The Lion’s Roar. “We want to make sure people that are impoverished and homeless have clothes.” 

Romain teamed up with Dylan Wilkinson of Loranger to start up their business Blue Hawk Apparel in August 2014. Both wanted to design T-shirts for a while, but it was their mutual interest in giving back to the community that birthed the idea for their first campaign. 

“Tony was working on a design that was just ‘Wear Clothes,’ and we were going to push it as that,” said Wilkinson. “Then we talked about it. We came up with the slogan ‘Wear Clothes, Give Clothes,’ and then it all came together after we determined what we wanted to do and where we wanted to do it.” 

The pair of designers decided that for every shirt purchased during the “Wear Clothes, Give Clothes” campaign, they will donate one plain T-shirt to someone in need, similar to how Toms donates shoes for every pair sold. 

“We didn’t do much research,” said Romain. “We didn’t really know anything about the logistics of starting a company. We just kind of jumped in. We decided to take a risk and do it.” 

Romain and Wilkinson were first co-workers at 5 Stones Media in Hammond when they started brainstorming ideas for their own clothing company. Their bosses Brian Walker and Tim San Fillipo aided them in aspects of starting their own company such as marketing their “Wear Clothes, Give Clothes” campaign. 

So far the two designers have printed a handful of the shirts themselves using their own screen printing equipment in Loranger, but their company Blue Hawk Apparel is licensed in Hammond. The few people currently wearing “Wear Clothes, Give Clothes” T-shirts are helping to advertise the campaign. However, the pair do not intend to sell any of their shirts in the traditional sense anytime soon. 

“Our goal is to sell as many as possible,” said Wilkinson. “That’s not as feasible for us. If we sell 100 of the shirts, it’s not going to be as easy for us to go out and distribute every single one ourselves.”

For this reason, Romain and Wilkinson are utilizing Teespring, a website that helps designers print and ship large numbers of shirts when their goal is reached. The campaign will launch on Teespring on March 1 and remain open until March 22. 

“We’re setting our goal pretty low at 50 shirts, just to make sure that we get this thing done and actually have something to give back to the community,” said Romain. “Hopefully it will grow later. If we can sell more than that, that would be great. Partnering with Teespring is helping us to go national, whereas if we sold 1,000 shirts just the two of us, it would take us forever to print them all ourselves.”

When someone reserves a shirt through Teespring, they will be able to select the size and color of their choice. If the campaign goal is met, those who have reserved shirts will be charged and the shirts will be shipped, arriving to individual homes about two weeks after the campaign ends. 

For additional information on the campaign, visit www.bluehawkapparel.com.