Monday, November 15, 2010

Designer / Retailer Highlight: Project 615

Ok, I’m not going to lie. When it comes to my every day look, I’m not really a t-shirt kind of girl. I tend to dress up a little more; my perfect winter outfit is an adorable dress, some kickin’ boots, and a ridiculously huge faux fur scarf. But you know, sometimes you just have to slip on that comfortable tee, your favorite pair of jeans, and show off your sexy versatility. And if you’re in the market for some new threads, I suggest you check out online-based Project 615. You can’t beat the price; shirts range from $19.99 to $22.99.

As the name suggests, Project 615 is a local company currently specializing in Nashville-inspired t-shirts. The company is run by friends Derek Evans and Matt Blinco and has only been operation since this summer.

Ok, so what’s so special about Project 615? Well, first off, their shirts are pretty sweet. All unisex shirts are manufactured in the USA at American Apparel’s downtown LA location, then designed and screen printed by Evans and Blinco themselves. Current shirt designs feature phrases like “615: Music Capital of the World”, “Johnny & Merle & Willie & Waylon & Hank”, and then the simple, yet direct, “Nashville, Tennessee”. Second, and most importantly, this company has probably one of the best purposes and missions around. Twenty percent of every purchase is donated directly to Set Free Nashville to assist homeless individuals in our area. According to the Project 615 website, Set Free Nashville is a “brand new church for the homeless… They offer a relationship with Jesus, shelter, lodging, meals, rest, and rehabilitation. Thousands of people nationwide have been given a second chance of life because of Set Free. They have had their lives saved and changed for the better.  Now the homeless community of Nashville have an opportunity for their second chance.” Handing over proceeds from sales to Set Free Nashville is one of the most rewarding aspects of Project 615.

I recently chatted with co-founder of Project 615, Derek Evans, to learn more about him and his company.

A Broadcast Journalism major from Anderson University, Evans met his business partner, Matt Blinco, while they were both living in Indiana. After to moving to Nashville the two started a graphic design business, Cannonball Creative, creating merchandise for local bands. This summer the two ventured to LA, spent some time on Skid Row, and were shocked at what they discovered. “We saw HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of people who were homeless,” Evans said. According to a recent NPR article, Skid Row, a stretch of 50 square blocks, houses the nation’s largest homeless population- up to 10,000 men, women, and children on any given night. “After we got back from that trip we decided to do something about it here in Nashville,” Evans said. “[We realized] there are plenty of people we can help in our backyard”.

Evans and his partner have found inspiration for their mission. Inspiration for their designs, however, comes from the city of Nashville.  “We feel this town is filled with rich tradition, not only musically, but historically,” Evans said. He describes the Project 615 designs as having a ‘vintage-local-modern flavor’ and says he wants customers to realize that when they buy a t-shirt “not only do [you] get a sweet shirt, [you]  also get to give back to the city of Nashville.”

In the upcoming months, Project 615 plans to expand operations to offer hoodies, jackets, hats, and more. Keep updated with the company to learn about new merchandise and designs. They also plan to have a series of benefit concerts to help raise money for Set Free Nashville.

So, when he’s not running his company, where can you find Evans? “The pedestrian bridge, Midtown, East Nashville, The Jefferson Street bridge, all the Mexican stands on Nolensville Road” or maybe just hanging out, listening to his favorite bands Kid Cudi and The Black Keys.

If you are interested in purchasing a Project 615 t-shirt, visit their website here or check them out on Facebook here. Remember that proceeds from your purchase will help homeless individuals in Nashville. As Evans said, “This city is filled with broken, homeless, addicted people who just need a second chance at life...someone to get them back on their feet. You can't walk 50 yards downtown without seeing a homeless person. That's not how life is supposed to be. We are all one mistake away from being homeless. If I was homeless, I would want someone to help me.”

all photos from

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