Buy a Shirt and Save a Veteran's Life
Posted on July 24 2016
I am writing this blog with the hope of explaining how one shirt purchase contributes to this ecology of positive reactions that not only influence you and a veteran but also the community as a whole.
I started this company with the aim to help solve the issue of rising veteran suicide rates. It took a community to send our soldiers their and it will take a community to bring them back. This idea is taken from the overwhelming response of nationalism and unity after the attacks of 9/11. The community solidified behind our military and advocated for a quick response. However, once the soldiers came back and the parades were over (much better than that reception of Vietnam veterans) and the public grew tired of the conflicts overseas, they sort of disappeared from the public sphere. This lead to the introduction of passive ways to display solidarity such as the yellow ribbon campaigns, political and party rhetoric to help our veterans and the embracing of the idea as a base in the conservative political spectrum. Beyond that, the access to information and tools to help with combat PTSD is limited by government funding and participation. Our inability to tackle the problems of PTSD has not only lead to an increase in suicide rates of veteran but also the family unit. A broken family unit from divorce or absent members leads to increased environmental factors that produce the environment of hopelessness and anxiety, which may lead to higher suicide rates in the non-veteran population.
YOUnity Clothing seeks to capitalize on the individual’s need for self-expression in order to bring about a positive social change. By creating designs that invite conversation and tell a story, I hope to create a greater sense of community cohesiveness and engagement. Each person who wears it may also have a personal anecdote that builds the clothing brand around them. I expect that the brand of YOUnity Clothing is adopted into the brand of each individual person who buys a shirt.
Another aspect I applied is how an individual can create massive change. We as humans are infatuated with stories of one person changing the world. This idea does have some merit to it. The individual buys with the expectation of creating change on their behalf but their individual influence increases social currency of the brand, thus creating the need for other individuals to be a part of that idea.
Every one of our veteran designs tell a story that someone can connect to and would want to express as their own. When they purchase a shirt, they help fund the Hounds for Heroes program which trains service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD. This tool is not covered by the government and is completely funded through donations. The consumer wears the shirt, spreads the story and feels good that they influenced a positive change in the world. This feeling is reinforced through transparency of all donations on social media and the creation of the #wearthesolution hashtag (a place where people can show off their support of whatever social cause they wish).
I hope that the above explains a little more about how YOUnity Clothing is more than just a brand. It seeks to heal divides in our communities and bring them closer.