T-shirts for a good cause

3 min

7 shares, 29 points

T-shirts for a good cause 1

The coronavirus crisis has affected the lives of individuals across the world; over 200,000 lives have been lost, and billions are grappling with the economic fallout.

In turbulent times like these, established institutions are well-equipped with resources to weather the storm, but smaller independent businesses have been hit hard as they struggle to cope with reduced sales figures.

Fortunately for some in the fashion industry, they were quick to react. Some garment makers and designers pivoted to selling designer face masks or personal protective equipment (PPE) to stay afloat; while others launched new collections to contribute to relief efforts.

Judging by the sheer amount of charity collections across the world, it reminds observers of the global reaction to raise funds for victims of Australia’s recent bushfires, with fashion brands kickstarting their own fundraising campaigns by creating new merchandise.

Fashion might be classed as a non-essential business during this unprecedented time, but these fashion creatives have channelled their passion into becoming a Covid-19 task force, to bring people and institutions together to help the vulnerable affected by the global pandemic.


The local streetwear label with a cult following has joined the global bandwagon in contributing to the coronavirus crisis with its ‘Frontliner’ fundraiser tee, which is the company’s way of paying tribute to frontliners for their valiant efforts.

The T-shirt suggests that actions speak louder than words, whereby it doubles as a call to action while serving as a reminder for people to stay at home.

Even at the height of the Covid-19-spurred social distancing, Nerdunit’s subversive and rebellious charm remains unshaken amidst the disaster currently facing humanity. It’s good to know that deprecating humour and satire are alive and kicking.

Nerdunit creative director Ronald Chew shares: “With the ‘Frontliner’ tee, we wanted to show our appreciation to all the frontliners for their brave sacrifices, while we encourage social distancing to all of our #teamnerd.

“In this time of need, every little bit of help does matter. We hope that by doing so, it would raise awareness and make a difference in our community.”

With the t-shirt sold at RM99, Nerdunit has successfully raised about RM50,000 over the course of three weeks, and 100% of the profits made from the sale will be donated to Mercy Malaysia.

Proceeds will be used to purchase respiratory aid machines, while assisting frontliners who are hospitalised and at risk of exposure.

Pestle & Mortar Clothing

In Malaysia, when you think of streetwear, you’d think of Pestle & Mortar Clothing (PMC). It is the driving force that has shaped the local streetwear scene since its inception 10 years ago.

Small businesses affected by the MCO are struggling to stay afloat, while the less fortunate who live paycheck to paycheck are struggling to meet their basic needs. Hence, PMC has decided to combine the public’s desire to support local independent brands with wanting to give back in the time of need.

The brand’s ‘Stronger Together’ campaign sees the launch of seven t-shirts, each designed in collaboration with, or advocated by, a local personality including Peter Hugh Davis, Theebaan G, Vanessa Tevi and others.

Sold at RM109 each, 100% of profits made from the initiative will be used to purchase essential goods from small businesses, which will help them stay afloat.

These products will then be donated to Impact Malaysia’s social relief movement #ImpactTolongHantar, and distributed to affected communities including refugees, migrant workers, members of the B40 group under Bantuan Prihatin Nasional and others, to help them sustain themselves during this time of strife.

PMC co-founder Hugh Koh shares: “We’ve managed to raise just over RM15,000 and we’re pretty happy with the performance. We’re just in the midst of distributing the food to the marginalised communities.”

The 10 Collective

Against Lab founder, Shawn Tan rallied nine other Malaysian fashion and streetwear brands, retail and news blogs – with names including Obscr, Futuremade Studio, Goodtimes Wear, Shuren Projects, TNT Clothing, Lansi, Peter Cat, Hundred% and Masses – to launch its ‘No Time To Kill, Time To Heal’ tee.

These trying times might not be the best for fashion labels, but a joint collaboration of this magnitude is a testament of proactiveness from these brands in joining the conversation of social responsibility.

One can’t help but notice the uncanny resemblance of the t-shirt design to the logo of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Indeed, the t-shirt stands as a homage to the humanitarian organisation.

The thoughtful design is considerably relevant and has never been more pertinent.

Tan explains: “I wanted to do something to give back to society during this difficult time, so I figured why don’t we help by doing what we do best?

“However, it would defeat the purpose if I were to do it by myself; with only Against Lab, the result wouldn’t be amplified enough for a wider, desirable reach. Hence, I reached out to my friends in the industry to come together and make this happen.

“The message of the T-shirt is clear cut and straight forward – that right now, it’s not the time for us to ‘kill’, and it’s time for us and the world to heal.

“It’s ironic because, in reality, we have to [physically] distance ourselves, yet it’s the time for everyone to band together and help each other out.

“We’re targeting sales of a total of 150 tees, which would lead us to approximately RM11,000 for donation.”

Retailing at RM99 each, all of the profits will be donated to Mercy Malaysia, who will then allocate funds to the ones who need it most.

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