Chari-T-Shirts: East End Tees Benefiting Local Food Pantries

Sylvester & Co.'s LOCAL LOVE hooded tee and Plain-T's branded black tee, Images: Courtesy Sylvester & Co.; Plain-T
Sylvester & Co.'s LOCAL LOVE hooded tee and Plain-T's branded black tee, Images: Courtesy Sylvester & Co.; Plain-T

Companies outside of the fashion industry have long used t-shirts for branding, special events and other marketing goals, but some tees are cut from a different, more charitable cloth. These East End businesses, and one organization, have created limited-edition shirts with the express purpose of raising money for local food pantries.

For over 10 years, Sylvester & Co. Modern General has released an annual LOCAL t-shirt that many East Enders have taken to collecting. “Generally, it’s the same play on the same design year after year, we just modernize the design or pick a different shirt,” Sylvester & Co. Buyer and e-Commerce Manager Holly Dunn says. “But this year we were immediately noticing that these food pantries were seeing unprecedented need.”

Realizing that this year’s tee would be more than just a stylish collector’s item, Dunn and Sylvester & Co. owner Lynda Sylvester gave the shirt a total makeover, turning it into the New York LOCAL LOVE Long-Sleeve Hooded Tee, the LOCAL collection’s first hoodie. “Lynda and I put our heads together and came up with the state outline and the heart—a more unifying message of what ‘local’ means,” Dunn explains. “We wanted to move away from anything that was polarizing and just realize that we’re one New York.”

The community-focused design is screen printed on a 6.1 oz., 100% pre-shrunk, true-to-size, ringspun cotton hoodie. The shirt is double needle stitched for durability and dyed with eco-friendly pigment colors.

For every shirt sold, Sylvester & Co. adds $10 to a monthly donation made to Jon Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank, which distributes the money to the East End food pantries that need it most. As with the LOCAL tees before it, the LOCAL LOVE tee will be available online and in-store until the end of the year, with donations continuing through December. 103 Main Street, Sag Harbor. sylvesterandco.com

Southampton-based boutique tea company Plain-T has been supplying high-end hotels, coffee shops and restaurants across New York with hand-selected, whole-leaf teas for a decade, and they recently launched a website to begin selling tea directly to the public. With that evolution came the Wellness Teas & Fashion for a Cause campaign, a collaboration with Brazil-based company INSPIRE, which introduced new branded hats and t-shirts that see a portion of sales donated to East End food pantries.

As former professional athletes, Plain-T founders Alessandro Teixeira, a tennis player, and Tathiana Teixeira, a ballerina, are committed to promoting a healthy East End through teas and philanthropy. “We’ve been very involved with the community since day one, which is part of our mission,” says Alessandro. “And we are able and willing to continue to engage with the community in anything that we can be helpful with. Every year we’re trying to let people know that the charities we believe in can count on us.”

The Wellness Teas & Fashion for a Cause clothing line, designed by INSPIRE, features black crew-neck tees made with Egyptian cotton and elastane and emblazoned with a small Plain-T logo, plus matching hats in black or white. The expanded tea list includes Detox Green Lemon Ginger Mint, Pure White, Rooibos Passionfruit and more. “The inspiration for this project was partially to continue being engaged in the community and also to combine our passions—tea, wellness, philanthropy and fashion,” Alessandro says. Teas, tees and hats are available online and at the T-Loft. 87 Powel Avenue, Southampton. plain-t.com

"Ramble" by Sag Harbor artist Frank Wimberley, as seen on the 2020 Clamshell Foundation poster and tee, Image: Courtesy Clamshell Foundation
“Ramble” by Sag Harbor artist Frank Wimberley, as seen on the 2020 Clamshell Foundation poster and tee, Image: Courtesy Clamshell Foundation

Despite not hosting a traditional Sandcastle Contest this year, the Clamshell Foundation, founded in 1992 to support the East End community, is continuing its 20-year tradition of working with internationally recognized artists to create a limited-edition t-shirt and poster to raise funds for local food pantries, The Retreat, OLA of Eastern Long Island, high school scholarships, individual families in need and other worthy causes.

“Our community needs our support more than ever,” says Clamshell Foundation President Kori Peters. “Back in March, we partnered with East End Cares as we saw how our local food pantries demands increased by 300% in just a matter of a few quick weeks. Since then, we have been working hard with the East End Cares team to raise funds to assist the food pantries to ensure they have what they need to operate for the duration of the summer and heading into the fall/winter season.”

The art chosen for the 2020 Clamshell Foundation shirt and poster is “Ramble” by Sag Harbor artist Frank Wimberley. The annual offerings are joined by an anniversary poster of the late Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nude on the Beach,” previosuly reproduced for the 1995 shirt. “It’s a flippant abstract image which looks like a cross between a bathing woman and a sandcastle,” Clamshell Foundation Artist Liaison and Web Designer Brock Lownes says of Lichtenstein’s artwork. “This year, the foundation wanted to continue with the trend of abstract work, so we reached out to Frank Wimberley, who has been part-time in Sag Harbor for decades. Lichtenstein and Wimberley together provide two novel ways of reflecting and reconsidering the Hamptons environment.”

As with everything the Clamshell Foundation sells, 100% of proceeds from the t-shirt and posters benefits the East End community. These items won’t restocked, so anyone who would like to order one for shipping or pickup at The Beach Hut in Amagansett should order theirs soon. 169 Atlantic Avenue, Amagansett. clamshellfoundation.org

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