Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's wrong with 1 million t-shirts?

If you've been following development blogs this week, you'll notice that the site 1 Million T-shirts for Africa has been getting a lot of (well-deserved, in my opinion) slack. Notice the brilliant comments from Aid Thoughts, which I tried to reproduce but can't manage to resize--go there and see. Then come back.

Well done. I'll now point you towards a number of bloggers I follow who have provided thoughtful commentary and analysis:
  • Blood and Milk has a great break-down of the site's video message, which tries to reply to all the criticism.
  • Texas in Africa has some good alternatives.
  • And Tales from the Hood about the un/civil debate on Twitter (which we've just now joined as #africantshirtco).
There are some obvious reasons for thinking this project is a bad idea, like, Africa already has shirts and clothes and stuff--including a thriving imported textile market that too often supplants the local one.

Now, for the shameless self-promotion: We make t-shirts. In Africa! And we send them to the States. Because people in America need our t-shirts. Dig? Check out The African T-Shirt Company for a way to get back at the stereotype that Africans can't make cool stuff. Our shirts are bought new or secondhand on the local market and handmade in Monrovia. And thanks to Made in Liberia, they'll soon be 100% Liberian made.

Two weeks ago, Yale professor and development blogger Chris Blattman called them "T-Shirts I Will Buy." Only please forgive all the photos of Nate and I: we're staging a photo shoot with our Liberian friends just as soon as we can make them drinks at Tides.



  2. Oops sorry here's my blog on Jason's t-shirt idea:


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