LT student launches clothing line

Helps fight climate change by planting one tree for every piece sold

All photos by Zoey Knipstein
Avarie Bernstein

Rory Quealy, Assistant Web Editor

In September 2019, Lucas Barnes ‘22 discovered a clothing manufacturer called Printful that works with small scale businesses but allows orders to be fulfilled and shipped with the service of a large corporation. Through Printful, Barnes realized it was possible to start his own clothing business and be successful. One year later he launched his own clothing line, Treevas, with the mission of fighting climate change. 

“[Finding Printful] elated me to the point where I just said, ‘Screw it. I’ll make a clothing line right now,’” Barnes said. “I began working through the logistics and researching [what starting a clothing line] would entail.” 

Barnes launched Treevas on Sept. 20 through his website, selling multiple products including T-shirts, sweatshirts, joggers, beanies and mugs. He originally set out to donate 50% of his profits to six organizations fighting climate change first hand but has since become solely involved with One Tree Planted to plant one tree for every piece sold. He believes this change will have a greater environmental impact, especially with the recent wildfires in California, and will be easier for him to manage long term, Barnes said. 

Along with planting a tree for every piece sold, Barnes has taken further steps to ensure that the production, shipping and other behind the scenes of his clothing line are eco-friendly. His website runs exclusively on renewable energy, and the fulfillment centers—the places that pack and ship his orders—are located coast-to-coast to decrease transportation emissions. The fulfillment centers that he works with have also been gradually moving towards using more ethical shipping materials and reducing plastic use, and the production equipment at the fulfillment centers are all energy efficient. 

There’s a big impact that the clothing industry has on the environment,” Barnes said. “A significant portion of waste comes from the clothing industry, which can be avoided if you take the right measures, and I’m trying to take those measures.”

After designing the clothes, Barnes began the process of creating his brand by designing and setting up his website and connecting it with Printful, who make, package and ship the orders directly to the customers. He then set out to make the line closer and more personal to him by reaching out to his friends for help in funding the pre-launch to make the photoshoot possible. Barnes offered his friends the chance to purchase the clothes early, so the models could use those pieces in the photoshoot before he handed them off to his friends, Barnes said. 

The photoshoot took place on Aug. 22 in Bemis Woods. They started taking pictures around 9 a.m. and were finished by 2:30 p.m., photographer Zoey Knipstein ‘22 said. Three of Barnes’ friends modeled the clothes: Avarie Bernstein ‘23, Hinsdale Central student Reid Bergquist ‘22 and Fenwick student Clare Hill ‘21. 

“[Barnes] was really nice, and he was a good leader,” Knipstein said. “He was able to stay very organized and made it so we were always doing something.” 

Barnes has plans to expand Treevas to include more customized pieces that are more personal to him. He also hopes to have a future in the fashion business and have an impact on making it more eco-friendly, Barnes said. 

My big goal for life is to innovate the clothing industry,” Barnes said. “I want to do research and get a team together to figure out new materials and ways to make clothes.” 

For now, he wants to do what he can as a 16 year old to help the climate fight, Barnes said.

“I would hope that [Treevas] brings some more climate awareness and therefore triggers some more local environmental initiatives,” Barnes said.