If you notice a man wearing a tutu standing in the South End parking lot of ABZ Creative Partners, he’s just being creative. And charitable.
Interactive designer Gwen Saunders said her boss, Martin Rose, wore a tutu with bike shorts this month in observance of the marketing agency’s No Pants June campaign she launched in 2012.
Senior account manager and copywriter Regan White said the element of humor “keeps things creative.” In this work environment, she said, “There’s an acceptance of who you are as a person and an appreciation of that.”
The staff has also accepted a new No Pants June challenge: Donating pants (and other wishlist items) to Crisis Assistance Ministry. They are encouraging community participation as well, and are stockpiling donations in their lobby through July 8.
— ABZ Creative (@abzealots) June 18, 2015
Saunders got the initial idea for No Pants June from a friend in college who went a month without pants, and she shared the concept with ABZ during her second year with the company. Her colleagues jumped on board.
At first, it was just for the sake of summer fun.
“I have a chronic dress problem,” Saunders said. “Every time I go to the store, even when I’m intent on buying pants, I end up in the dress section.”
Now her office looks like a store’s dress section gone berserk. There are plenty of spare pants-less options floating around for anyone in need of an outfit change, such as grass skirts, togas and kilts.
There was an incentive to join the fun long before the charitable donations started: A chart was mounted in the office with participants’ names, and each pants-less day earns them a sparkly star sticker.
This summer, Saunders said, “Our goal is to collect as many bins full [of donated items] as we can.”
Tovi Martin, communications manager for Crisis Assistance Ministry, said that when she and her colleagues first caught wind of the challenge, “We smiled. This is such a creative way to engage our community in Crisis Assistance Ministry’s mission of providing assistance and advocacy for people in financial crisis. I love the idea of connecting what ABZ’s participants are ‘going without’ to what struggling families might also be forced to ‘go without.'”
White admitted that, sans pants, it has been tricky trying to stay professional at times when clients are on the premises. “There have been some breaches of dress code,” she said.
As for her own thoughts about going pants-less, White said, “It is rather freeing.”
Saunders said she loves that sense of liberation. Beyond that, she said, “It gives me a broader sense of joy as a community element.”
So here’s your new motto for the summer, courtesy of Saunders: “Wear your dress. Donate your pants.”
Photos by ABZ Creative.
Katie Toussaint @katietoussaint