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Interview with Youth Studio’s Nathan Ellis

*Note from Nathan: “First it’s important to know that I am one half of Youth Studios, my business partner Jaelen Peacock is who I am referring to as the plural.”

Q1: How did your business come about?
A: We had a Wednesday evening class in the spring semester of our Sophomore year at Montclair State. Honestly we were super bored in this class and so we would just sketch out ideas and exchange paper notes with phrases or concepts during class. Eventually we came down to the final graphics and phrases we liked. The whole concept began in that class but from that class we took it further and really developed the concept.

Q2: What made you decide to create hats?
A: I think we both understood hats. Hats are a great starting point. It was a bunch of free space that we were able to fill up however we liked. And also, majority of people wear hats. We figured it was a safe bet. And it was an easy medium to use during school. Managing a business and school simultaneously is challenging, hats gave us a lot flexibility.

Q3: How did you decide what design you wanted for the hat? What inspired you?
A: The main graphic of “God Bless the Youth” came about from an inspiration of the current gothic, rebellious yet spiritual vibe of modern streetwear. It’s a hard aesthetic to get our thumb on but overall we believed that that phrase emphasized our perspective on current streetwear. The phrase isn’t meant to be religious. We used euphemisms like “God” and “Youth” to simplify a greater concept. That concept being, that whatever keeps you young, creative and optimistic is something that should be cherished, protected and blessed. God Bless the Youth is an ode to anyone living their dream and protecting it by any means. The other graphics play off of that main front graphic. “Pray for us…” asking for support and understanding and the praying skeleton represents the literal bare bones of our product. This cap is a very transparent piece, we wear our art on our heads and anyone who supports us does the same. We have nothing to hide. “JaeleNathan” connects our names on the back of the cap. Our names are connected by our shared N, and it is placed over the back of the cap by the velcro binding because Jaelen and I are the binding of the product. Without our friendship and shared passions this hat would never exist. We keep it all together.

Q4: Where can people buy your hats and what is the price?
A: We are currently sold out! However you can check out our website for future drops at www.bigcartel.youthstudios.com
The cap retails for $35.

Q5: Do you plan on making new designs or expanding into other items?
A:We are currently working on the next product launch! Stay tuned. We are optimistic and working to get something else out to the world during these next summer months. We are not boxing ourselves in in terms of what we can make. We follow the ideas. If the idea is good we apply that to whatever medium presents itself as the most advantageous.

Q6: What is the best part in your opinion of having a business?
A: Working with one of my best friends. Being in business with a friend is hard but we work extremely hard to keep everything about our business objective and transparent. No ideas are stupid. We both are always very honest and respectful toward each of our own personal business perspectives. It is a great experience and I think we both learn so much outside of the classroom with our business.

Q7: Will you ever open up a store in the future?
A: My degree is in Retail, Merchandising and Management. In the future I know that my ultimate goal is to own my own shop or business. I want to create my own vision and creative direct my product. That is my ultimate goal that I am working toward.

Thanks to McKenzie for this opportunity. Your support is so valued.
#GBTY

Our Instagram is @youthstudiosnyc

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About McKenzie Kennedy

New Jersey college student majoring in Fashion Studies | Born and raised in Tampa, Florida | I love God, taking photos, and laughing.