Welcome to EthiCAL Apparel: Local Impact Project

EthiCAL Apparel
Aug 13, 2019 · 5 min read
Berkeley Project volunteers at the Berkeley Drop-In Center

We are a student-run social enterprise that provides affordable, high-quality screen printing and free design services on ethically-made clothing. Our mission is:

Emboldening students and entrepreneurs, one shirt at a time.

Founded in Spring 2010 as a Social Entrepreneurship DeCal, EthiCAL Apparel has evolved into an organization with over 40 members in five different departments: Marketing, Sales, Design, Finance and Operations, and Social Good. Though best known among Berkeley students for our designs on apparel, stickers, and pins, we have most importantly dedicated ourselves to providing an ethically sourced clothing line and lending out most of our profits as microloans to entrepreneurs all over the world through a non-profit microfinance organization called Kiva.

Although we were increasingly making a global impact through Kiva loans, we also wanted to foster meaningful relationships within our local community. In Spring 2019, the Social Good department launched the Local Impact Project, in which eight groups were formed based on their interests, ranging from deforestation to sustainable clothing. Throughout the months of April and May, each group brainstormed and executed ways in which they could make a tangible impact in their respective fields of interests.

Legends Only

Legends Only at the 1951 Coffee Company office

Field: Immigration

Members: Isha Patel (Design), Leona Chen (Design), Julia Huang (Sales), Belinda Yan (Sales)

Organization worked with: 1951 Coffee Company — a nonprofit coffee organization that supports the refugee community in the U.S. by providing job training and employment

What they did: Legends Only visited the 1951 Coffee Company in Oakland, where they learned about the organization’s mission, did mock interviews with trainee baristas, and ordered as mock customers.

Homiez Against Homelessness

From left to right: Nidal, Wissam, Ann

Field: Helping the Homeless/Refugees

Members: Sydney Pon (Sales), Madi Griffith (Marketing), Kaylee Wong (Sales), Jenny Mo (Sales)

Organization worked with: Kiva—a non-profit microfinance organization that provides entrepreneurs zero-interest loans and financial literacy skills to help grow their businesses and local economies

What they did: Homiez Against Homelessness lent out Kiva loans to Ann, a single mother who needed support with her agribusiness, Nidal, a Syrian refugee who needed home appliances, and Wissam, a Palestian refugee who had to repair and maintain his taxi cab business.


Gregorio at his pet shop in Columbia

Field: Animal Rights

Members: Cathy Chao (Social Good), Lyndsay Song (Marketing), Tiffany Feng (Design)

Organization worked with: Kiva

What they did: EthiPAWS lent out Kiva loans to Gregorio from Columbia who needed funds to buy supplies for his pet store, including toys, feed, and other merchandise.

Clown University

Clown University at American Indian School

Field: Education

Members: Nada Lamie (Design), Jolana Chan (Design), Andrew Linxie (Finance and Ops), Mimi Shalf (Social Good), Grace Lam (Design)

Organization worked with: Techbridge Girls—an organization that focuses on introducing girls and underserved communities to STEM fields through after-school programs all over the country

What they did: Clown University volunteered as Volunteer Role Models at American Indian School in Downtown Oakland, where they empowered girls in low income communities to achieve economic mobility, through sharing their own experiences in STEM.


PaTREEarchy planting their avocado tree

Field: Deforestation

Members: Sarah Roberts (Social Good), James Hua (Design), Sarah Phung (Sales), Lara Chu (Marketing)

Organization worked with: N/A

What they did: Originally planning to work with local organizations focused on forest retention, PaTREEarchy eventually planted an avocado tree due to lack of responses from organizations that were contacted.

Um, Canada

Infographic researched and designed by Um, Canada

Field: Ethically Sourced Food

Members: Julie Situ (Marketing), Matthew Lee (Marketing), John Um (Sales), Stephanie Chen (Marketing), Phi Diep (Design)

Organization worked with: Mezzo—a local Berkeley restaurant that serves different variations of salads, sandwiches, and soups

What they did: Um, Canada created an infographic for the business to use in promotional and marketing materials after contacting Mezzo staff about ways they implement sustainable practices in their business.

Sus Clothing

Social experiment done by Sus Clothing

Field: Sustainable Clothing

Members: Eunice Lee (Co-President), Claire Qiu (Sales), Joyce Li (Marketing), Diana Fan (Design), Ayush Maganahalli (Marketing)

Organization worked with: N/A

What they did: Sus Clothing helped bring awareness to sustainable clothing practices via thrift shopping by displaying two relatively similar sweaters during one of our tabling events and asking passerby which sweater they think is thrifted. If both sweaters received the same amount of votes, this would support the notion that thrifted items could be the same quality. SPOILER ALERT: both sweaters got relatively the same amount of votes!

Grid and the Kidz

Infographic researched and designed by Grid and the Kidz

Field: Sustainable Clothing

Members: Ingrid Ma (Co-President), Minjung Kim (Design/Webmaster), Smita Sikaria (Sales), Serena Chan (Design)

Organization worked with: Crossroads Trading Company—a thrift store company with stores all across the country

What they did: Grid and the Kidz hoped to raise awareness of the benefits of thrift shopping through an infographic, which was printed out and displayed at Crossroads.

The Local Impact Project this past Spring ’19 was an opportunity for all of us to make an impact in our community. By working in groups based on our shared interests and passions, we found interactive and creative ways to get involved, from designing infographics for local businesses to volunteering at a non-profit organization. Participating in the Local Impact Project each semester is just one of many ways that we can affect positive change in our community. As an organization, we will commit ourselves to continuously search for opportunities to make an even greater impact every step of the way.

Author: Amy Oh | Team: Social Good

Thanks for reading! If you want to learn more about what EthiCAL does, please check out our Facebook and Instagram.

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