Buy a t-shirt, help put 100 baby oysters into the Chesapeake Bay. That’s the premise of a new collaboration between the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) and clothing company Chesapeake Collection.
The preppy hat and t-shirt line’s slogan is “Wear the Bay,” and its young CEO is committed to supporting restoration efforts. Matthew Wilmer says the new donation will put about 150,000 new oysters in the water through ORP’s efforts to plant oyster spat on recycled shells in Bay waterways.
The partnership will be ongoing: Chesapeake Collection will donate a set amount per t-shirt sold that allows ORP to fund 100 new oysters. Wilmer says he chose to help ORP because of the Partnership’s grassroots, hands-on work.
“I felt like giving the money directly to them would make the most impact day to day,” Wilmer explains. “It’s really cool to watch their mission.”
Bay Bulletin first reported on Chesapeake Collection back in 2017, when Wilmer was just 23. He and a friend started the high-end lifestyle brand when they were still in college.
Two years ago they were excited to share plans to sell the brand in five to seven store; today that number has doubled to 15 retailers from Maryland to Northern Virginia. Wilmer tells us the company also has a stronger online presence. They use a warehouse in Baltimore County, and all of Chesapeake Collection’s shirts are made in the United States. The product line has expanded from t-shirts and hats to include hoodies, polos and 1/4-zip pullovers.
From the beginning, the founders wanted to help the Bay. The company has been a longtime supporter of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. As Chesapeake Collection grows, so does its resolve to give something back to the water.
“Making people aware of how awesome the Bay is, that’s kind of our vibe,” Wilmer says.
And ORP is grateful for the support. In a statement, ORP Director of Partnerships Paul Schurick tells Bay Bulletin:
“We’re thrilled to officially kick off our partnership with Chesapeake Collection, providing a fun and easy way for Chesapeake Bay lovers far and wide to support important oyster restoration projects right here in Maryland. As a Bay focused organization, we couldn’t imagine a better collaboration than working with a company solely dedicated to celebrating and supporting our local waters.”
-Meg Walburn Viviano