Student-run brand dedicated to sustainability encourages people to “do good with your bones”
Junior MC Clark created &bonez to promote empathy with positive messages and hand-printed designs
American University junior MC Clark spent the past year creating her clothing brand &bonez with a mission of sustainability and empathy.
“Being an environmental science major, I wanted [the process] to be as environmentally friendly as possible,” Clark said.
Before she launched her brand in August, Clark researched the most environmentally friendly clothing design practices and decided to print the designs on the fabrics with a silk screen. Clark also buys the clothing she prints her designs on from thrift stores or wholesale providers. She ensures that the clothing she uses for her designs is either second-hand or made from recycled materials.
The way she prints her designs is also sustainable, producing very little waste.
“I had [my most recent stencil] for four months so far, and it’s still going strong,” Clark said.
Clark initially drew her hand and skeleton designs for fun until her brother suggested she put them on t-shirts, Clark said. Once she figured out how to do that in an environmentally sustainable way, Clark launched the business with the motto to “do good with your bonez,” following the theme of the skeleton hand that she started with.
Her main designs feature a normal hand reaching toward a skeletal hand in many different forms, such as the hands reaching their pinkies toward each other for a promise or the “re-creation of adam,” in which the hands are inspired by Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.”
&bonez was recently featured on e-commerce platform The Fletcher Collective’s Purpose for the Passion YouTube series, where Clark talked about the brand’s environmental and social impact.
Clark herself “does good with her bones” by donating a portion of her profits to various charities and organizations. The explosion in the Lebanese Port of Beirut occurred the week that Clark planned to start her business, and she donated 40 percent of her profits to Lebanese Red Cross, raising $250.
She donated a portion of her profits from the last week of September 2020 to The Bail Project, a nonprofit that pays bail for those who cannot afford it. During the holiday season, Clark chose to donate a portion of her profits to the Covenant House, a homeless shelter for young people in D.C.
In February, for her limited-edition Valentine’s Day design, Clark donated to the domestic violence intervention agency DC SAFE.
“I figured I should donate towards organizations that help people who aren’t being loved the way they should,” Clark said.
Clark sells t-shirts, totes and sweatpants with her designs, and upon request, can tie-dye products.
When it comes to environmentally conscious shopping, one of Clark’s tips is to look at the fabrics. She said that cotton is one of the most earth-friendly fabrics. Though it uses a lot of water to produce, cotton is naturally plant-based and biodegradable. Clark also suggests shopping at thrift stores or spending a little extra, “to make sure that the person who made [the product] is being paid fairly, and [that the brands] are not damaging the earth.”
&bonez just launched its newest product, a hand embroidered design on the front of the sweatshirt and a printed design that states, “be who you want to be” on the back. All product orders can be requested through direct message with the product and size.
Clark’s hope is that people who buy from her business, “wear [her products] proudly and are actively telling people ‘hey, do good today.’”