UCSD senior swimmer Sawyer Farmer is using proceeds from a shirt his brand STKY designed and sells to buy personal protective equipment and deliver it to hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmer swam collegiately under David Marsh and Marko Djordjevic, and was an Divivision II NCAA Championships qualifier in the 2018-19 season.
The shirt is modeled after an N95 face mask and sells for a sliding scale of $15 to $1,000. The brand covers the cost of producing the shirt, with 100% of profits going toward purchasing protective gear. So far, Farmer and his business partner have donated 400 masks and 100 re-usable protective face shields to frontline healthcare teams.
Farmer, a pre-med student who worked in a lab at UCSD before it pivoted to COVID-19 research, co-founded the brand with friend Nolen Putnam in 2016.
“We thought we could be the middleman with people who might now know how to contribute during the chaos that’s going on right now,” Farmer told SwimSwam. “The idea behind the brand is each shirt is supposed to tell a story, and our mantra is ‘find your moment’ or ‘find what sticks.’ Each shirt is supposed to encapsulate a story and that story might be something different to each individual person, so we kind of re-purposed the N95 mask into the design of this shirt.”
STKY was able to get the initiative up and running within 48 hours of having the idea, in part because Farmer was able to connect with medical personnel through his father, who is a doctor.
Swimmers including Yuliya Efimova, Lia Neal, Dylan Carter, Marius Kusch, Ella Eastin, Abbey Weitzeil, Reece Whitley, Mallory Comerford, Zach Apple, Jacob Pebley, Trenton Julian, Carson Foster, Annie Lazor, Olivia Smoliga, and Jacob Heitmann have bought shirts.
“Even though swimming might be seen as an individual sport, it really shows the family relationship you have in the community, and how really connected and really supportive the community was of each other,” Farmer said.