Cancer researcher Liz O’Day is so busy that she hardly has time to do her laundry. Instead, she chooses clean T-shirts from the stock of her online store, Lizzard Fashion, contained in cartons in her Boston apartment.
O’Day, a chemical biology doctoral candidate at Harvard University and winner of a National Science Foundation Fellowship, designed the intriguing science-inspired images on the eco-friendly shirts. The shirts look hip like ones from Urban Outfitters, but their explanatory tags express the scientific mind and humor of O’Day. Her mission is to “make geek chic” by using fashion to show that science is cool and exciting.
“To own a fashion company may seem a bit bizarre for me, but I’ve always loved fashion,” said O’Day, who grew up in Braintree. “There’s a lot of parallels between fashion and science. It’s all about being creative and not being afraid to take risks.”
The shirts, made mostly at plants in the Southeast, are either made from organic cotton, bamboo, regenerated cotton, or recycled plastic bottles or bottle tops. They are available online for $22 and at gift shops at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. O’Day also makes custom shirts for biotech companies and conferences. A portion of the profits goes to cancer research and computers for orphans in Mexico.
O’Day has run the company with help from her father, a lawyer, and her brothers, Chris, 23, of Boston and Rob, 29, of Nantucket. Now a year old, the company has grown enough to support the hiring of a full-time business manager.
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