Life & Style

Brothers U Faizal and U Irshad print vaccine certificates on T-shirts

T shirts with vaccine certificates printed on them were conceptualised by brothers U Faizal and U Irshad    | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Slip on a T-shirt and step out without having to worry about producing your vaccination certificate. T-shirts printed by Imperial Press at Kottappad in Malappuram will have your vaccination certificate printed on them.

The T-shirts have made brothers U Faizal and U Irshad the talk of the town, with requests for the merchandise pouring in from all over India and UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

With the economy cautiously opening up in the aftermath of the lockdowns it is almost mandatory for people to carry their vaccine certificates with them to enter offices, banks, malls and shops as well as for international travel, hotel check-ins and more.

T-shirts with vaccine certificates printed on them were conceptualised by brothers U Faizal and U Irshad

T-shirts with vaccine certificates printed on them were conceptualised by brothers U Faizal and U Irshad   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“As soon as the government made it compulsory to have vaccination certificates to use certain public spaces and offices, there was a lot of confusion and anxiety among people. They were not sure if they could step out to buy vegetables or go for a walk without a vaccination certificate or a phone with vaccination details on it,” says 42-year-old Faizal who runs Imperial Press with his younger brother Irshad.

He says social media was abuzz with questions and clarifications about the certificate. Trolls questioning the decision and its practical difficulties were aplenty on social media.

‘A practical solution’

Noticing the widespread lack of clarity regarding the certificates, the brothers decided to print T-shirts with the vaccination certificate. “We came up with a practical solution to help people. It would obviate the necessity to carry their phone or certificate with them all the time, provided they wore the T-shirt, even as innerwear!” says Faizal.

Both the brothers put up the information regarding the T-shirts as their status on WhatApp and on the same day they received 50 to 60 orders for the T-shirt, says Faisal.

“Customers download the vaccination certificate from the Co-WIN portal (cowin.gov.in) or the Aarogya Setu app and send its pdf to us by WhatsApp. We print it on the T-shirt for them,” says Faizal.

He points out that their press, set up 58 years ago by their father Kunhalan U, had always been up to date on trends. “Our offset press was into printing T-shirts, mugs, photographs and so on. We have to keep with the times and so printing the T-shirts did not involve any extra costs or change in equipment. It was an interesting idea that we implemented,” explains Faizal.

Initially, many of their customers were drivers and then they were deluged with orders from senior citizens who wanted to save themselves the trouble of carrying the certificates with them. NRIs also requested them to print T-shirts for their parents in India.

T shirts with vaccine certificates printed on them were conceptualised by brothers U Faizal and U Irshad 

T shirts with vaccine certificates printed on them were conceptualised by brothers U Faizal and U Irshad    | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Once the T-shirts became popular, the duo decided to check with the authorities to ensure that they were not breaking any laws while printing the T-shirts. “We were told that there was nothing to stop us from printing it and in fact, the authorities felt that it might encourage more people to get their jabs. So we added a sentence that said ‘I am vaccinated’,” says Faizal.

Light-coloured T-shirts bought in bulk from Tirupur are used for printing the certificates. Customers can choose from white, light yellow, blue, orange or green T-shirts and get the vaccines printed on the front, back or sleeve of the T-shirt. Each T-shirt sells for Rs. 250. Courier charge within Kerala is 60 while outside the state is 100.

However, they are not the first to do this; comedian Atul Khatri had shared a photograph on social media on August 9 that showed him wearing a T-shirt with his vaccine certificated printed on it. ‘Since work & travel has restarted and was getting tired of showing my Covid Certificate at airports, hotels, etc – devised this idea’, said his tweet.

The vaxinistas

In fact, the urban dictionary even has a word for people who wear their vaccination status on their sleeve: vaxinista, a combination of vaccine and fashionista. It is someone who has had both doses of the vaccination and wants to announce it to the world through merchandise, selfies and cards, says The Guardian.

Matthew Perry aka Chandler Bing of teleseries Friends had earlier promoted vaccine-related merchandise on his Twitter account.

Since countries are still keeping a strict vigil to combat the pandemic, looks like the vaxinistas and the merchandise for them are bound to be around for some time.

Online marketing giants have caught on to the game and T-shirts with ‘vaccinated’ emblazoned on them are advertised on my platforms. Soon the brothers are likely to find competitors for their ‘vaccine T-shirts’ too.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 8:48:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/brothers-u-faizal-and-u-irshad-from-kerala-print-vaccine-certificates-t-shirts/article36074914.ece

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