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(Not) Ironic T-shirts

Eight companies whose clothing serves a purpose.


The humble T-shirt has seen its cultural status elevated in recent decades, from the backs of video-game-playing layabouts to the rail-thin frames of hipster royalty. Bearing the imprimatur of the creative class has allowed a further development: T-shirts that make a difference.
1. Project M$425; buyameter.orgThe high price of this T-shirt goes toward the cost of a water meter-the first step for home water service for poor, rural Alabamians.
2. Because$28; becauseclothing.comThese special-edition shirts depict heroic people in history-From Gandhi to the "unknown rebel" in Tiananmen Square. A percentage of sales is donated to nonprofits.
3. Re-Shirtre-shirt.netReinventing the idea of the worn-in T-shirt, re-shirt collects tees with special memories (a shirt worn while making out with a hottie), cleans them, and sells them with an identifying serial number.
4. StatAttak$25; statattak.comBeautiful infographics reveal compelling statistics about Africa. Twenty percent of sales go toward building an orphanage in Mozambique.
5. The Quiet Life$25; thequietlife.comA standard-bearer for ironic T-shirt companies, its new Artist Donation Series gives 100 percent of its proceeds to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
6. Part of It$28; partofit.orgArtists submit designs inspired by their favorite causes; proceeds go to the cause each shirt represents.
7. Rosa Loves$25; rosaloves.comThrough graphics on the front and a story printed inside, T-shirts are sold to raise money for a particular cause. When that goal is reached, the T-shirt design is retired.
8. Social AtelierFrom $88; socialatelier.comWith bold social messages displayed in bold type, a portion of the company's proceeds goes to buy solar ovens for women in refugee camps in Darfur.
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