Charity or fundraising custom T-shirts bring together great design with a good cause. The benefits of fundraising with T-shirts are obvious: not only is it a means to raise money for the campaign or charity in question, it’s also a way to get the message out there and raise awareness. Ideally, it’s a pairing between a like-minded designer (or designers) and organisation, their passion for the cause meaning they’ll produce their best and most attention-grabbing work. This can be achieved in different ways, through explicit statements or smartly posed suggestions. Both tactics are in evidence in this round-up of some of our favourite T-shirt fundraising campaigns of recent times.
Virgil Abloh x Jenny Holzer x Planned Parenthood
Off-White founder Virgil Abloh and artist Jenny Holzer first partnered on an installation for Abloh’s 2017 Pitti Uomo presentation, which focused on global conflicts and the international refugee crisis. For their second collaboration, they turned political commentary into something tangible, creating a T-shirt version of Holzer’s seminal “Abuse Of Power Comes As No Surprise” work, in aid of Planned Parenthood L.A.
AWAKE & Chroma NY
Since 2012 clothing brand AWAKE has celebrated New York City’s unique sensibility and diversity, and they’ve done a fair few charity collaborations to align with these values too. Previously they ran a toy drive with Election Reform!, where everyone who donated a new toy received an exclusive, hand-dyed Shaniqwa Jarvis x AWAKE NY x Election Reform! T-shirt. Their most recent “Protect People Not Borders,” (available in both English and Spanish) T-shirts were in support of migrants, with proceeds going to Al Otro Lado, a group which provides medical and legal support to immigrants at the US-Mexico border, and to Casa Arcoiris, which provides legal and health services to the LGBTQ+ migrant community in Tijuana.
SODA studio x The Childhood Trust
This relationship began when architecture and design practice SODA Studio were hired to design a community centre for The Childhood Trust. SODA were taken by the work that the charity do to fight the effects of poverty for children; and they saw an opportunity to try and use their skills and network boost the charity’s cause. In 2018, they put together the Sanctuary project, sold through Everpress, where they enlisted the likes of Zaha Hadid, Lovers, and Pentagram to design a series of tees. It was a runaway success, and ended up being one of our biggest campaigns of the year, head here for some of their insights into running a charity fundraiser.
NOAH & Keith Haring x Save The Children
New York-based NOAH is carving out a niche for itself for its quality, ethically produced menswear and continued commitment to good causes. Previously the brand helped raise funds in aid of Hurricane Dorian victims, and this run saw it pair up with the Keith Haring Foundation to raise funds for Save the Children. Fittingly, the range of sweatshirts were emblazoned with Haring’s “Mother and Child” drawing.
Vivienne Westwood x Burberry x Cool Earth
Veteran designer Vivienne Westwood’s history of campaigning is nearly as long as her fashion career; indeed it’s impossible to separate the two. The woman who birthed punk has thrown her weight behind causes spanning the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, civil rights, and, most prominently, climate change. This collaboration in aid of Cool Earth saw Westwood pair up with iconic British label Burberry for a capsule collection that fused Westwood’s punk aesthetic with Burberry’s heritage.
TELFAR CLEMENS X Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Mass Bail Out
Queens-born Telfar Clemens’ is fast becoming a New York institution, and the designer is keen to give back to his city too. 2018 saw him create the LeFrak capsule collection, with proceeds going to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Mass Bail Out campaign, to free women and youth from Rikers Island. Last year, as part of No One Is Innocent, a day of events in conjunction with MoMA PS1 and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, he created a limited edition T-shirt. All proceeds went directly to the organisation’s ongoing effort to free school-aged youth from Rikers Island.
Ai Weiwei x International Rescue Committee
In 2018, Ai Weiwei released a series of T-shirts emblazoned with some of his recent and best-known work, with part of the proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee, who offer emergency aid and long-term assistance for refugees. Released in connection with the Berlin-based artist’s 2018 exhibition at L.A.’s Marciano Art Foundation, the show was focused on refugees and the experiences of those who are displaced.
Maison Margiela x AIDES
Each year since 1994, cult brand Maison Martin Margiela has brought out a T-shirt in support of French AIDS organisation AIDES, always screen-printed with the words: “THERE IS MORE ACTION TO BE DONE TO FIGHT AIDS THAN WEAR THIS T-SHIRT BUT IT’S A GOOD START.” As well as being one of the first fashion houses to launch an ongoing initiative with an AIDS charity, in the years since Margiela has gone on to become one of the AIDES biggest benefactors, and the slogan is now printed on everything from boots to handbags.
Amnesty International’s ‘Rebellion’
Inspired by its annual Write For Rights campaign, which sees Amnesty’s global supporters write letters in support of human rights causes, Amnesty ran a T-shirt campaign featuring nine designs by women and non-binary artists. 2017’s Write for Rights was focused on women fighting injustice, and the campaign was a statement of solidarity with women activists around the world, with the artists themselves routinely using their work for activism in the UK. Sold through Everpress, it was a way for the human rights champion to tap into one specific strand of the work they do – and put a spotlight on the voices of the activists vital to their success. They talked us through their approach here.
Everpress 50/50 x Amnesty International
The premise of Everpress’ 50/50 project is simple: to enlist 50 different artists from around the world to design a T-shirt, all united by the same theme. In 2018, we partnered with Amnesty to focus on the issue of censorship, something that often factors into the injustices which Amnesty work to uncover and overturn. The collection included the likes of fashion designer Liam Hodges, Swedish illustrator and tattoo artist Soto Gang, and Carri Munden, founder of fashion label cassette playa. We put together our takeaways from the campaign too if you’re after more insight.
ANNA COSGRAVE X Repeal
In the lead up to last year’s repeal referendum, it was impossible to miss Anna Cosgrave’s Repeal jumpers and T-shirts both in Ireland and further afield. “This was about moving the conversation offline, outside of the online liberal echo chamber I was existing in and onto a jumper,” she said. “I felt they could act as statements of solidarity for women affected by the issue, as a stigma buster to open up a conversation on reproductive rights and as a fundraising mechanism for the multitude of volunteer-run organisations working on this issue.”
Read More: Amnesty International’s Guide To T-shirt Fundraising