When U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu says, "Making roads and roofs a paler color could have the equivalent effect of taking every car in the world off the road for 11 years ..." it wasn't just the environmental community that took notice.
In fact Patrick and Mike McCarney — the two brothers who started the high-end, hip-hop-inspired Akomplice clothing line — heard the call. So much so that they created a new T-shirt/environmental campaign design to convey this notion with style and aplomb. They partnered with a famous Los Angeles marketplace, Fred Siegel’s Conveyor Boutique.
Their design is about more than mere information or donating to a deserving NGO. The message is to take action. The shirt is packaged in an empty paint can and accompanied by a designer paintbrush that you can use to start painting your own roof.
The package also includes Secretary Chu’s quote, patriotic colors, and a stencil of a painter whiting-out the phrase “Conventional Wisdom.”
As Patrick so clearly expressed at the release party inside the Fred Siegel store in Santa Monica on June 16, “The time is now. It’s never been more needed. I say paint! Paint! Paint! This is the next generation’s time to make their mark…”
The brothers intend to walk their talk. They are in negotiations with city leaders to whitewash a prominent, downtown structure.
This is not the first time the brothers-turned-clothing-activists have focused on issues of import. Previous designs have included commentary on racism, inner-city violence, war and environmental destruction. With the release of Leonardo DiCaprio's eco-documentary "11th Hour" they packaged the DVD with a limited-edition clothing piece.
The Akomplice brothers spell out their argument clearly on their campaign website:
1. The natural rhythms of climate change … are beginning to accelerate rapidly. Human beings are responsible.
2. Radiation that would have once been reflected back into space by the Earth's natural surface is now being absorbed by the dark synthetic surfaces found throughout the world's urban centers.
3. This increases the demand for air-conditioning in urban centers, driving up energy bills and pollution simultaneously, and further perpetuating a negative pollution/heat cycle.
4. Changing roads and rooftops to lighter colors will help these surfaces reflect more solar radiation, thus cooling urban areas. This will, in turn, decrease air-conditioning demands and energy usage.