Welcome to the story behind the brand, ‘”function as one”. Creator Pam Fong shares her experiences and challenges that have mapped out the past four years.
In the spring 2009, the organic apparel brand UNiTEE was founded, originally for the last class for my design certification. It was a print design class, for my final project. We were to find a client and work with a commercial printer. I had the option to work with a screen printer, and designed 36 shirts for the girls housed by the non-profit Olive Crest. I wanted the girls to have something unique and special, not a hand me down. I wanted the design to make a statement, ask a question and to stand for the very feeling and action that was stolen from them … LOVE! I also wanted the shirts to be organic cotton because these shirts are pure, representing the girls purity, also stolen from them!
Eventually the brand name changed from "UNiTEE" to "function as one" because of trademarking.
On 5/11/2010 I launched the brand “function as one" during one of the worst recessions. I used my savings, some unemployment $, and a small % of equity I pulled out from my house when I had resigned from my job. I launched “UNiTEE” to focus on others rather than myself and hopefully in some way help someone through my design messages on the shirts and the brand’s concept of "building community with one another by setting aside our differences to help each other out" .
The 5/11 date was specifically chosen due to my own involvement in the community based creative group 511, Santa Ana. I created the brand “function as one” exclusively from 511 Santa Ana’s own vision and mission for its’ community. After being involved with 511 and its’ surrounding community for a couple of months “function as one’s” mission and vision seemed to go hand in hand with 511. 511 is and will always be in my heart, it’s culture was about you, despite who you are, where you’ve been, where you’re going or what you’ve done, you are always welcome here and we’re happy to see you (again). No judgement, no questions, no snobbiness, nothing that said,” we’re too good for you or you’re not good enough to be here”. It’s more of one that says … WE want you here!
511 cultivated a safe environment where you could be yourself, who you were created and designed to be and not feel judged. 511 was about the people rather than programs or a space. 511 was about love, support, building and growing community, and being the connector between the community and other organizations who may have been able to help. 511 was about partnerships.
function as one is about working together to help another person, organization or business by setting aside our own differences, judgements or personal opinions.
The soul of function as one is:
there are moments in time
when LIFE brings us down,
where we need the help from another
to pick us up off the ground.
it's not about you and
it's not about me,
it's about setting aside our differences
to help one another achieve
a goal, a dream, or an aspiration.
let's work, grow, and be together . . .
let's function as one.
The brand function as one currently consists of 100% organic cotton apparel and eco friendly merchandise which has custom designs promoting a positive, encouraging and supporting attitude and lifestyle; one with the intent to aid in prolonging and protecting the longevity and health of our planet as well as the next generation.
function as one, is a community, a family, a business, a relationship, a mentorship, a marriage, a youth group, a lifestyle, a culture, a way of life, an atmosphere, a cause, activism, an organization, a state of mind, a body a universal concept. love. peace. hope. heart. grace. joy.
function as one gives back to selected non-profits who benefit children and the arts on a bi-annual basis.
Follow Pam on Twitter to learn more about her
Shop function as one here
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