It is a truth universally acknowledged that all witticisms and good ideas should eventually find their way into T-shirt form, where hopefully they can earn a few bucks.
Which is why, of course, Michael Mohlman’s $15 North Campus and South Campus shirts went viral, making a killing from Facebook sales.
Given the overwhelming interest that these shirts piqued, it is clear that Facebook isn’t an adequate venue to sell shirts, because vendors had to turn to Google Forms when demand became too high. What makes more sense, and hopefully dollars, is to develop a small section at the Associated Students UCLA store in Ackerman Union dedicated to vending student-made apparel.
As of now, a walk through the student store is an exercise in redundancy. Unlike what ASUCLA already offers, student-made apparel’s localizing touch would be a breath of fresh air amid the endless UCLA logo apparel.
Besides that, the design is well thought-out, especially for the North Campus shirts: a paintbrush and a globe, as if we could somehow repaint this world with the things and colors we see. On the other hand, the South Campus shirts feature such items as a beaker and a dinosaur, reflecting how those students interpret the world.
And in the language of democracy, it only makes sense that the people who best understand what students are interested in are students themselves. Who else could grasp the subtle and finer points in the eternal North Campus versus South Campus discourse? It’s a design made by a student for students, highlighting specific facets of our school that we understand best.
Patrick Healey, director of apparel and accessories for ASUCLA, said setting aside a section for student-made apparel is definitely possible. Although no students have approached him about it, he said it is an idea he is open to.
ASUCLA is unaware of the happenings in the student community, especially on Facebook, but it should still be active in seeking student talent.
Currently, Ackerman devotes quite a lot of floor space to apparel you could find at a local mall or any other department store.
A lot of this space could be easily replaced with student-made apparel. The clothes consumers buy would be both a showcase of talent for the designer and a source of pride for both parties.
Obviously, these shirts would need to meet aesthetic standards and copyright laws. ASUCLA would also need to provide a framework for revenue sharing.
But Facebook has shown that a good idea will sell, even in the most unlikely of venues.
So instead of staying passive, ASUCLA should take this opportunity to reach out to freelance designers looking for a venue to display their work. For many art students whose interests don’t always translate to money, getting their work out there is both practical to their education and applicable to their futures.
It’s not moving mountains. Just selling T-shirts and helping students. It’s a win-win.