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RISD profs design line of T-shirts

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Threadless, an online T-shirt company, has launched a new series of T-shirts designed by faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design. The faculty were chosen by President John Maeda, who also chose a theme of “newness” for the series.

“We are amidst the election season here in the U.S., and a movement is arising driven by a palpable desire for change,” Maeda wrote in a press release. “Human nature and the creative spirit drive our desire for new tastes and new sensations, all of which can be synthesized into fresh perspectives and new experiences.”

The T-shirts were designed by four faculty members, including Nancy Skolos, a graphic design professor, Soojung Ham, an industrial design professor, and Trent Burleson and Randy Willier, both from the illustration department.

A scholarship fund at RISD will receive $15,000 worth of proceeds from sales of the shirts, according to the press release.

Michelle Ha, RISD’s director of innovation partnerships, said that “the idea (that Maeda) was coming into the presidency” and the recent presidential elections affected the choice of the theme of “newness” as well.

Ha also explained why the school’s involvement with the company makes sense.

“Threadless is interesting because it operates solely on the energy of people: the individual artist, contributors and the audience that loves the T-shirts. It feels, from one person to another, like the hand-made individual philosophy RISD students have,” Ha said.

The products were presented in an exhibit in Chace Center on Nov. 6. Ha said that the response from the public was very positive, and that the “students were very interested.”

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