Student Spotlight: Upperclassmen manage clothing brands

Student Spotlight: Upperclassmen manage clothing brands

Courtesy of Faux Threadless

by Anya Weaver and Vivian Jin

Kaitlyn Nguyen (12) had been editing an album cover toward the end of her junior year when she suddenly thought, “what if this was on a T-shirt?” That day, she decided to start a business and went on to create a website for her own line of apparel.

Kaitlyn makes designs for shirts, sweaters and hoodies using Adobe Photoshop. Her website is hosted by a company that helps her make and market her products.

“It’s kind of like a way for me to let go because a lot of times I just create art traditionally or digitally—like with a pen—but with my clothing brand, I just take photos and I edit them, and I manipulate them in ways that I wouldn’t normally think of if I was holding a pen or a pencil and just drawing on paper,” Kaitlyn said.

Several upperclassmen have similar businesses. Along with Kaitlyn, Charles “Charlie” Molin (11) and Vince Vu (12) own a personal clothing brand or fashion business as well.

Charlie makes and sells his own shirts and graphics to reach his goal of creating a community of artists with shared artwork. He posts both his own designs and those of fellow artists on Instagram to grow this creative family.

To begin the design process, Charlie comes up with an idea for a graphic. Then, he uses Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create the design and contacts a screen printer to help him put the design on an article of clothing.

“I definitely like mixing photography with typography most of all; to me that’s the most interesting form,” Charlie said.

Vince buys and resells exclusive shoes, such as Kanye West’s line with Adidas. He can sell the shoes for three to four times what they’re worth, due to their rarity and popularity. He works with his brother, Vance Vu (10), and two friends.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had an interest for shoes, and as I’ve grown older, business and entrepreneurship has been an interest of mine as well,” Vince said.

To obtain these shoes, he has to compete against bots online, camp out for days in front of stores or enter lotteries. He and his co-owners attempt to procure as many pairs as possible whenever there is a large release.

“It’s honestly kind of stressful, but it’s also like you feel a lot of freedom, like you could branch off into so many different things,” Vince said. “I’ve been doing hoodie sales.”

The students advertise in a variety of ways: Charlie relies mostly on word of mouth as well as social media, where he posts his own work as well as that of other consenting artists; Vince uses social media and eBay and Kaitlyn uses social media, word of mouth and meeting new people to advertise.

Kaitlyn plans to keep running her business through college and hopes to branch off from the site she currently uses, Threadless. Charlie sees his business as a fun opportunity with an indeterminate future. Vince is just working on growing his brand and does not know what lies ahead.

“I kind of just want to do this for fun, and I don’t want to be too serious about it,” Charlie said. “I feel when people see that you are just trying to have fun with what you are doing, then people will feel it’s more authentic.”

In college, Kaitlyn plans to study entertainment design, and Charlie plans to study business and fashion.

“Once I have an idea in my head, I’m always trying to think of how I can make it better. So I don’t think I’ll ever have a finished product. Eventually, I’ll just have to say… You have to feel like you’re confident enough in your product that people will enjoy it,” Charlie said.

They can be found online in the following places: Vince Vu: @uniquesneaks, Charlie Molin: @noserialnumber, Kaitlyn Nguyen:

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on November 16, 2017.