By Bianca Gracie
Photos courtesy of Clear Classics
With the Silence & Noise fashion show nearing, we chatted with the designers who will be featuring their collections in the show! This designer profile focuses on Clear Classics founder Abhinav Adi.
Adi, a 20-year-old junior majoring in marketing with a minor in communications, started his own company, which focuses on tank tops with fun sayings, two years ago. Despite the company being quite young, Adi has made it a campus success by having a focused customer market and simple yet cool designs that are suitable for any college student who likes to have a good time!
Abhi: Probably in elementary school. I loved to draw. I’ve always loved art. Throughout middle and high school I used to watch a lot of hip-hop videos. A lot of artists put out their own clothing lines and I got really interested in doing that. Once I came to Northeastern, I realized I had all the resources available. So I was like, why not–just taking something I’ve always wanted to do and change it into a reality.
HF: How did your company come about?
A: I actually started it through the Husky Start Up Challenge [a program funded by the Entrepreneur’s Club] in the beginning of my sophomore year. With EDM (electronic music scene) blowing up now, everyone’s into house music and going to concerts, so I felt like tank tops would be more appropriate and a better business model overall. I also donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the Akshaya Patra Foundation in India.
HF: What were challenges you faced when building your brand?
A: Well, when I talked to people about this I got a lot of mixed reviews that made me confused for a while. My closest friends were like “Are you sure you wanna do this?” and my parents didn’t want me to do this. It stumped me for a while. At the end of the day I made my own decision on what I thought would be best. I took the most popular tank designs and put them out, and they all sold pretty well. I just made a new tank design three weeks ago, which is a blank tank opposed to white that features the Clear Classics logo.
A: My personal favorite would have to be the “YOLO, I’m Indian.” I feel like I can relate to that the most [laughs] & it’s kind of unique. It was something I definitely wanted to make for me and my friends.
HF: What are your inspirations?
A: I try to market [the tank tops] towards frats and sororities. Everyone in frats try to wingman each other, so playing off that concept I just put “Chill, I’m a just the wingman” [as a design] because that’s a shirt a guy would like to wear. Or possibly a girl if she’s watching out for her friends. For the house music one, I just knew that the EDM scene was blowing up so I definitely wanted to hit that.
HF: More students are coming up with their own t-shirt lines, what makes Clear Classics stand out?
A: The way I’m branding my company is unique – it’s toward the EDM scene and it has a chill vibe to it, especially with summer approaching. It’s the perfect workout shirt. I know some of my friends rock my tanks to the gym. I feel like the special thing about the line is the unique wording. With the wink face, I’ve never seen an actual emoticon on a tank. Especially with technology nowadays and everyone is texting on their Smartphone. My whole thinking process towards this was what do college kids do and want.
HF: How would you describe your customers?
A: My customers actually range a lot. When people find out about Clear Classics, some people might buy them just for the gym. People who go to EDM concerts want them, and then of course the frats and sororities. I feel like especially in Boston in the summer, people just want them to wear at home so they can relax. I was at Reebok working over the summer and I lived on the third floor of an apartment. When I came back home it would be ridiculously hot and we didn’t have an AC. I just wanted something loose and cool. That’s one of the inspirations to why I started the tank tops.
HF: Do you experience any difficulties balancing student life and work life?
A: I feel like I’m pretty time efficient. Every night before I go to sleep I make a schedule of all the things I need to do the next day to make sure I don’t get delayed. But at the same time it is really hard but it is rewarding. It makes me happy to see the company grow. At the end of the day it’s all worth it.
A: Glowsticks! I plan to get glowsticks that people can wear around their heads and around their necks to go with the tank tops. When they go to house concerts they can rock that with their attire. I’m also talking to people about possibly going into more colors and how that would affect the brand. I’m also considering making a pop-up shop in the summer and doing guerilla marketing. I also have the Square app, so I can still make sales even if customers don’t have cash on them.
HF: How would you like to see your company grow in the future?
A: I would love to have more tanks and also expand in the type of clothes. I might go into something like socks or belts, something that people would be interested in. I also plan to going into sunglasses, wristbands and other complementary items for the tank tops. I want to still focus on the EDM scene and Greek life because I feel it is my strongest market within a college city such as Boston.