Wednesday 07, June 2017 by Jessica Combes

Pocket full of love

 

When Pedro Codina created his t-shirt company he had no idea of the far-reaching social impact that would come with it.

Pedro Codina, Founder of ILOVEMYPOCKET always wanted to have his own t-shirt company, and, from 2003 it was an idea that would not go away. Originally from Spain, he was studying Hotel Management in Holland which he said was a very cosmopolitan environment, with a lot of different fashion influences from around Europe. “It was really popular to wear t-shirts with a quote or a cool graphic and I was eager to have my own company. I had no idea how to start a company and I’m not a designer. I kept travelling; from Holland I went to China, then to Barcelona, and then I moved to Dubai around 2008 and the idea of having my own t-shirt company stayed with me.”

 

His first real inspiration came to him when he saw the use of Keffiyeh fabric as decoration. He used the fabric for cushions in his home, and guests always remarked on them. He realised he could incorporate the fabric into his t-shirt design, and also that all the shirts that drew his attention had pockets.

 

He took his idea seriously in 2014. He went to a tailor that could do adjustments on his suits, to make a few sample shirts with pockets made of the Keffiyeh fabric. The people who saw it really liked it, but at that time it was just a t-shirt with a pocket with no story behind the brand. “I was at a friend’s barbecque and we were talking and I just said ‘I love my pocket’ and realised that was a great name. I googled the name, saw all the domains were available, and bought them all. Then I asked what I could add to the idea of the company,” said Codina.

 

The Keffiyeh fabric represents a specific region of the world and Codina reasoned that a portion of the profits could be sent to the destination where the fabric originates. From there the business model developed into sourcing fabrics from around the world, where a portion of the profits can be used to benefit each of those communities.

 

Market research
Codina’s first foray into a market scenario was a pop-up in d3 during Design Week at One Life Café. “We were there for about eight days. By the second day people approached me to learn more about the brand and we started selling a lot of shirts. People would stop and look at the shirts I had on display, and they just liked what they saw without knowing the story behind it. Once I explained the concept, people loved it even more. We had people from Saudi, Egypt and Kuwait, as well as Australia. One lady from Russia bought 12 t-shirts,” he said. He knew he had achievd his goal–to create something visually pleasing that would also have social impact.

 

One of the challenges in the area is its limited resources and Codina did not want to use just any cotton; it was a non-negotiable for him to use fair trade cotton. He found an apparel company that produces ready-made items that can be rebranded, and only uses fair trade cotton in their supply chain. “My goal is to have my own fabrics and then we can do our own cuts, but first we have to continue to test the market and settle the brand.”

 

ILOVEMYPOCKET has partnered with the locally-based Al Maktoum Foundation which supports schools in Africa. “We have done a design for Kenya using the original fabrics from the kikoi of the Masai, and we will buy school bags with school materials for the students of two schools in Nairobi. We cannot do everything at the same time, but slowly we are creating a product that is cross-selling and representative of every destination, as well as helping every destination. I do not have to be from a certain country to support it. That people from different places can support one another is beautiful, I think,” said Codina.

 

To date the company ships to around 12 countries, and Codina will look into the logistics of setting up in different locations to ease the prohibitive shipping costs to places such as the US and Europe.

 

  

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