Trent Call's design: "Chapter One"

Salt Lake City is giving back, and it's all due to the efforts of Dan Gigante, founder of the You and Who organization,  a company that brings artists together with needy populations to benefit both.

Gigante was introduced to the idea when he saw a video interview of Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes, who gives a pair of shoes to a needy kid everytime a pair of TOMS is purchased. Using consumer profits to aid homeless populations became the seed idea for You and Who, but instead of turning his attention to the needy in other countries like TOMS, Dan took a more domestic approach, and began to address the poverty that exists at home in the United States.

You and Who was launched in Sept. 2010, with eight cities and countless organizations involved. In each city, one local artist is chosen based on T-shirt designs they submit. The T-shirts are then manufactured and sold in that city, and every time a t-shirt is sold, another one is donated to a local homeless shelter.

Now, only one year later, You and Who is off to a running start, and 23 new cities will be incorporated into the 2012 campaign, including SLC.

Local artist Trent Call's work ranges from the traditional academic aesthetic of portraits to cartoon-inspired illustrations and street art. When creating a design for You and Who's 2011 theme "New Beginnings," Call explained how he began with a "fresh start, new story, new book" and finally came to a cohesive idea-- "chapter one is where it all begins."

The resulting design was "funky and fresh," with the words "Chapter One" screen-printed on each tee in a colorful, graffiti-inspired pattern.

Dan Gigante personally delivered loads of the T-shirts to clients at both the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake and the Road Home.

Road Home tee recipient, Katrina proudly shows her shirt designed by local artist Trent Call. She got one for herself and one for each of her three children.

Dan Gigante personally delivered loads of the T-shirts to clients at both the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake and the Road Home.

For Gigante, the best part of his work is meeting the clients that will benefit from his efforts. "It has been almost overwhelming to see the amount of people in need in this country," he says. "I get the greatest feeling when I'm hand-delivering the T-shirts."

Gigante also pointed out that most homeless shelters receive donations of clothing that are no longer wanted. "It's not often they receive a brand new, good-quality shirt with a great design," he said.

In the upcoming year, You and Who will be expanding to encompass a wide range of cities, including Denver, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, trumpeting the new theme of "Moving Forward."

Call tapped into the expanding spirit of the company saying "I would love to see more stuff like this get rolling...it's a win-win on every front."

Perhaps the secret to You and Who’s blossoming success lies in the power of the community. The T-shirts are designed exclusively by local artists, sold in local shops, and consequently donated to local shelters and homes. There is an increase in awareness and support of the homeless, and  simultaneously artists are able to channel their artwork to directly affect those in need.

Tees are in the $20 range.

Click here for information on how to get involved and to browse the selection.

Click here for more information on SLC artist Trent Call and his work.