Is $300,000 for a T-shirt unreasonable if it’s for a good cause? Threadless doesn’t think so. The community-based T-shirt manufacturer linked arms with branding firm BBH New York and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to launch “Good Shirts,” a line of tees to raise money for famine- and drought-affected communities in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Dijbouti. Designed by New York art collective (and real-life couple) Christine and Justin Gignac, the shirts have a unique pricing structure that matches the cost of the aid item it depicts, from $18.57 for three insecticide-treated mosquito nets to $300,000 for a cargo flight that relays critical supplies.
T-SHIRTS FOR GOOD
Unlike many cause-related initiatives, 100 percent of the purchase price (not just proceeds, mind you) will help further UNICEF’s lifesaving relief work. Don’t have $300,000 kicking around? Just $24.50 provides enough vaccines to protect 81 children against measles, which kills more than 600 children each day and leaves survivors with blindness or brain damage.
100 percent of the purchase price will help further UNICEF’s lifesaving relief work.
For slightly more, you can provide a child with 150 high-protein, peanut-based meal packets, enough to sustain him or her for nearly two months. Levels of support increase with each corresponding aid item, topping out at $3,064 for a motorbike to distribute supplies, $75,000 for 100 tons of fortified corn-soy flour, and the aforementioned $300,000 cargo flight from the UNICEF supply warehouse in Copenhagen to Nairobi.
“We believe people are generally altruistic, but giving people a badge for being altruistic certainly doesn’t hurt,” says Ari Weiss, executive creative director at BBH NY. “We’re literally letting people wear their donation as a source of pride and as a means to spread the word. If friends get a little competitive over who’s being more altruistic, all the better.”
So yes, a T-shirt that costs six figures is a bit of a marketing grab, but if it can rally attention for more-attainable donations—or even the consideration of one—then who’s to say it wasn’t worth the effort? One thing’s for sure: We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for T-shirts with cargo planes—and the people wearing them.