SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- In the peak of the George Floyd protests in 2020, a San Diego man wanted to try to help support the black community. Little did he know, his creations would explode.
Erwin Hines said he’s always enjoyed creating t-shirts, so he designed a shirt with empowering words with a plan to donate any profits.
“I put out my first t-shirt expecting it to be shared and expecting to print maybe 25 for me and my friends to wear, but it got shared some influencers, got shared by media platforms, and from that people began to ask where can I get it, where can I get it, where can I get it, and because there was demand, I then turned it into a pathway for donations,” said Hines.
His Future is Color company was born.
Some weekends, the San Diego man would have thousands of orders come in, so he quickly learned how to run a business. By the end of 2020, he had donated more than $100,000 in profits to various groups like the ACLU and NAACP San Diego SWAG program.
In addition, he’s put thousands of dollars toward starting his own group, Future is Color Elevate our Voices, which is a mentorship program for black and brown kids. He’s also starting a scholarship fund for minority children.
Hines said what he likes about t-shirts is the accessibility to various types of people and the dialogue it creates.
“When I think about what a t-shirt and the importance of something accessible, it’s so that everybody can engage in that conversation. Because the more people that engage in the conversation, the more likely we are to have a major cultural shift,” he said.
He said through the last year, he’s had peak moments that stand out to him, including museums asking to include his shirts in displays that highlight the cultural shift from the summer of 2020, plus kids and teachers reaching out to him to say his shirts are being included in lesson plans that study the cultural movement. Those are the moments that are fulfilling for him.
Since the launch of the company, he’s created even more shirts with a variety of messages. Some are empowering. Some unite. Some show the history of the black community. Moving forward, he hopes to expand the company more, creating short films and podcasts that discuss topics like mental health for black people.
“Yes I’m going to continue making shirts because I feel like there’s many conversations that still need to be had with the general public as well as within our own communities,” said Hines.