The GREEN Program (TGP) — that’s Global Renewable Energy Education Network — is expanding its revenue model while keeping its mission in check.
On Black Friday, the public benefit corporation that sends college students on sustainability-focused study abroad trips will launch the pilot of an upcycled clothing line, rePurpose, to benefit its scholarship fund.
The line includes graphic t-shirts, custom denim jackets, military-grade jackets and more sourced from vintage military surplus in Philadelphia, such as I. Goldberg, and thrift stores here and in Brooklyn.
All clothing is gender-neutral and will include screen printed designs by founder and CEO Melissa Lee’s fiancé that were “inspired by our TGP students who we have the privilege to explore different corners of the world with,” Lee said. Local design studio P’unk Ave supported screen printing for the designs.
Lee said there’s a close tie between TGP’s existing programs and rePurpose: Upcycling, or reused, clothing aims to be a more environmentally friendly answer to shopping than mass production. Case in point: It takes hundreds of gallons of water to produce the cotton for one new T-shirt.
“I’ve always wanted to have a merchandise line for TGP because our students are always asking for it, but I really don’t think we need more t-shirts produced in the world from a sustainability point of view,” Lee said via email. “Over a happy hour about a month ago, [Student Success Coordinator] Lauren [Hamilton] and I were talking about this and she said, ‘Why don’t we do a TGP upcycling line?’
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“We both share a knack for thrifting and enjoy the creative process behind upcycling so it seemed like a great project for us to test,” she said.
TGP is storing the clothes at its office in Center City’s Graham Building, though Lee said she’d like to expand to a full warehouse if the program is successful. If this first line sells out, it can fund one full scholarship.
Sales will open here on Friday, Nov. 23.-30-
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