"Official Harvard Strike Shirts" will soon be as conventional as hoola-hoops, V-neck pajama shirts, Peanuts cartoon calendars, and all of the products of American merchandising.
The Bertex Corporation, of Glencoe, Illinois, has begun producing and selling T-shirts and sweatshirts with red fists and "Strike" silk-screened on their backs.
The Bertex shirts closely ressemble those made at Harvard by members of the Graduate School of Design during the April strike. The only difference is that Bertex will stencil the word "Strike" in black while the Design School did it in blue.
Bertex has already sold over 400 shirts in the month since it began advertising them. James Kaplan, president of Bertex, said that he had also received requests from students wanting to represent the Strike shirts on campuses across the country.
"The shirts have no official connection to Harvard," Kaplan said. "But where could we get a better name?"
Kaplan said that the Corporation has made arrangements with the National Student Association (NSA) to sell the shirts through their new merchandising campaign. The NSA is planning to distribute one million envelopes to college students this Fall containing offers for travel cards and other products for students.
"After the shirts appeared on the covers of Life and Newsweek, we thought a lot of kids would like to buy them if they knew where to get them," Kaplan said. "It's got to sell to someone, it's really cute," he added.
The Bertex Corporation has produced silk-screen processed clothing for two years. "A year ago, we were making shirts for a militant black group in Chicago with red fists and "Soul Brother" and "Soul Sisters" stencilled across them," Kaplan said. "All red fists look basically alike," he said.
Kaplan also said that his production of the shirts has no political implications. "All the shirts will do is clarify things," he said. "The guys with the red shirts will be against and the ones with the gray suits will be for."
Bertex began by advertising in the college papers of "the ten or twelve largest colleges that had disruptions last year," Kaplan said. "We found, however, that students in rebellion are not basically summer school students."
Bertex has since begun advertising in underground newspapers and the Saturday Review. The shirts will continue to be sold exclusively by mail order, Kaplan said. "The [Harvard] Coop wanted no part of the business and threw me out on my ear," he said.