Arizona Fashion Designers Help Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

September 14, 2017


Photo courtesy of Quinlan Wilhite on Instagram/ Photo © Christopher Berry

Quinlan Wilhite

Brand: Qmulative

Quinlan Wilhite is the designer of Qmulative, a local streetwear brand, and an emerging designer in this year’s Phoenix Fashion Week Designer Bootcamp. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Wilhite jumped at the chance to help with a specially designed t-shirt.

Wilhite worked with World Care, a Tucson based organization that has “distinguished it self as the go-to organization for providing populations in need with humanitarian aid in the form of health, education, and emergency supplies,” according to their website.

Wilhite is well known for his pocket t-shirts and said he thought of the shirt design from an old stencil for a Texas pocket he had. He then drew up the design and chose a Southwestern pattern, stating, “I just wanted to keep it simple…”

Wilhite said the whole process came to fruition in 48 hours, and in addition to the support of World Care, got Next Level Apparel on board as well, who donated 50 shirts initially, and then later 20,000.

“[It was] kind of a random thought, but it came together really well, and I have friends that are out there on jet skis and boats and stuff, so I wish I could do more,” Wilhite said.” I don’t really have any excuse there, but I wanted to do something.”


Photo Courtesy of Johnjay Van Es/ Photo © Trudge – Steve Trujillo

Johnjay Van Es

Brand: #LoveUp and #LovePup

Phoenix based radio show host, Johnjay Van Es of the nationally syndicated  Johnjay and Rich Show, held a campaign for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts from August 28th – September 4th though the sale of his #LoveUp and #LovePup shirts.

$60,000 dollars were raised for the relief effort solely in the sale of the shirts, according to Van Es, with $50,000 donated to the Red Cross to help relief efforts, with exemption for the cost to make the shirts.

Houston is very close to Van Es’ heart, as he had a radio show there for four years on 93Q Country and he and his wife, Blake, had twin girls that were born in Houston on Valentine’s Day, though they did not survive.

“It was just so outlandish and crazy to see the streets that we would live in and see people in boats, driving their boats up and down the streets that were a part of our lives everyday,” Van Es said.

On the importance of radio as a medium, Van Es said that ever since 9/11, people understand how important radio is as a tool for survival, when televisions, the internet, and other forms of communication are down.

“Since 9/11, we understand how powerful our show is [and] how powerful our show can be with the community,” Van Es said. “The community needs us more than ever now.”

A special shirt was in the works at the time of the interview for Hurricane Irma, which caused devastation in parts of southern Florida and the Caribbean.

“There’s always something, and we want to be ready,” Van Es said. “We always want to participate; we always want to do something.”

Van Es said that he didn’t think about himself as a fashion designer until Urbanite Runway reached out to him for an interview, despite the fact that he now designs many of the shirt’s concepts.

“It blows me away. I don’t know how to handle it,” Van Es said. “I like it.”

The shirt sales kept going up day by day, according to Van Es, and he never expected to raise as much money as they did.  “People so badly wanted to participate and do something,” he added.

This need was evidenced through his social media audience and radio listeners, where he discovered through social media, a woman walking through the fields of Texas wearing rain boots while feeding stray dogs and wearing a #LovePup shirt.

“Not since LIVESTRONG has there been another message as powerful as #LoveUp,” Van Es said. “You’re wearing a shirt that’s telling you and reminding you, ‘Hey, do something nice for somebody today…”‘

Best of all on those thoughtful gestures? It’s all from the heart.

“#LoveUp is organic, it’s authentic, it’s real,” Van Es added.


To donate to the Red Cross to support relief efforts for those impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, click here

To purchase a Qmulative ‘Houston’ t-shirt, click here.

To purchase a #LoveUp or #LovePup shirt, click here

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