WALLINGFORD — Town native Michael Beale has launched a clothing company to call attention to climate change.
The LUCA clothing company sells a selection of T-shirts and beanies, planting trees with each purchase. The plantings in animal habitats provides more oxygen for the animals. LUCA stands for Last Universal Common Ancestor, a reference to the “last organism that all life on Earth can claim common descent.”
“Every time a product is purchased, we plant a tree.” Beale said. “The spill off benefit is that we actually fight climate change.”
Beale, a college senior, said although he will consider adding designs to the product line, the purpose of the clothing company is to support fighting climate change through the purchase of these products. The company’s flagship product is a T-shirt that features an elephant or koala peeking out of the front pocket.
“We’re not trying to sell to people who want T-shirts,” he said. “We want to sell to people who want to start a conversation that we’re guardians of the planet.”
Beale, who is studying entrepreneurship at High Point University in North Carolina, said the company is working to become carbon negative, which means there will be less carbon in the atmosphere as a result of tree planting. LUCA has partnered with One Tree Planted, a non profit reforestation organization based in Vermont with teams around the world.
Designer Conely Brown said designing for the LUCA company was an added challenge because of the use of animals in the illustrations. Beale had the idea for the animal hiding in the pocket but gave her artistic range.
“We went through many versions of the Koala before the [final version] and that set the stage for the rest of the designs,” Brown said.
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