Rosa Loves celebrates two years

Local clothing company sells shirts and gives back to community

By Taylor Toothman |
Photo by Shaun Devine

PHOTO CAPTION: Local artist and Flagler graduate Ty Williams puts the finishing touches on his live-art piece at the Rosa Loves 2nd Anniversary Party at Café Eleven.

In just two short years, Flagler College alumnus Mike Fretto’s small idea has turned into a big reality.

During a 2005 trip to New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Fretto felt an overwhelming need to help others after such and eye-opening event.

Instead of donating time and money to a charity, he wanted to do something that impacted people on a more personal level.

In October 2006, Rosa Loves was born. The concept is simple: clothing with a purpose.

Rosa Loves is a company that sells T-shirts, but also tells a story. Fretto, business partner Chris Lewis and their staff find local individuals or families that are in need.

Then they design a shirt that is inspired by the subjects’ struggles.

For every shirt sold, 60 percent of the money goes to help the subject in need, while the remaining 40 percent covers the cost of merchandise and operations.

Rosa Loves celebrated its second anniversary on Oct. 14 at Café Eleven. During the event, they unveiled their latest t-shirt design.

Sales from the new shirt will meet the need for transportation in St. Augustine. All proceeds will be used to buy parts to build bicycles. If enough money is raised, Rosa Loves will be able to purchase brand new bicycles for community members in need.

In addition to releasing the new design, there was a silent art auction featuring some of St. Augustine’s up-and-coming artists, including Dustin Miller, Ty Williams, Nicole Middleton, Danny Jones, Joey Tomassoni, Leif Kruse, Joshua Shirlen, Nathan Lewis and Becky Ankeny.

The live mural painted by Ty Williams during the event was auctioned off in sections.

Rosa Loves also brought in PaperRoot Clothing printer, Gregory Dettra, to print one-of-a-kind, custom designs onto party-goers’ blank t-shirts.

The art festivities were musically accompanied by the rockin’ Sunbears! on the inside stage.

The following after-party bithday celebration featured music provided by Classic Blends/DJ Hu.

Rosa Loves’ birthday celebration was a huge blast and an even bigger financial success.

Art and shirt sales raised more than $2,500 for the company to continue its work.

“The mission of Rosa Loves is to better the quality of life for people living in poverty and to engage the public in the tangible process of helping others,” Fretto said on the company’s Web site.

Rosa Loves T-shirts can be purchased online or locally at The Closet on Cordova Street and at Simple Gestures on White Street.

To find out more about Rosa Loves and their community work, visit

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