Former University of Michigan basketball co-captain to launch apparel line at charity event tonight
A philanthropic apparel company launched by former University of Michigan men’s basketball team co-captain David Merritt will unveil its first designs at a charity event tonight at the Michigan League.
The Bringing the Inside Out launch party represents the official brand launch of Merritt’s new company, I Miss You Inc. A portion of the proceeds from the event, which will include a fashion show of men’s and women’s designs, will benefit U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
The company pairs designer T-shirts with a community-service mission. Each employee is required to serve 8-10 hours of community service each month, and the company has established a partnership with more than 20 community service organizations. Customers who serve at least an hour of volunteer service with one of the partners gets a discount on IMU T-shirts.
“Our main focus is youth, but anything that helps the community and helps people, we’re all for it,” Merritt said.
The 23-year-old Merritt, who graduated in May 2008 with a degree in sports management and spent a year in a master’s program in urban planning at U-M, has teased the company through YouTube videos and via social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. The YouTube videos have reportedly attracted some 6,000 viewers, while a promotional video on IMU’s Web site has landed more than 100,000 hits since its unveiling last month.
You can watch a promotional video introducing the company here.
“I have a vision for the brand, and I’m at a point in my life where I’m really trying to widen my perspective to see things from a bigger view,” said Merritt, who joined the Wolverines basketball team as a walk-on during his junior year and helped the team return to the NCAA tournament last season.
“That’s what IMU is trying to do: Get people to see outside of themselves for what they really are and who they really are," he said. "We feel that it has a worldwide appeal and can really take hold around the world.”
The West Bloomfield native said the T-shirts will be manufactured by a company in Los Angeles and sold through IMU’s Web site. The business plan envisions opening a brick-and-mortar store during the second year of operation, hopefully in Ann Arbor, Merritt said.