** This article was written by Nina Mascheroni
Knowing nothing about Sprai Apparel beyond their name, I decided to look through their current line of clothing in preparation for this article. What I found was an offering of streamlined street art to sketch style drawings — all incredibly well-branded. A quick favorite of mine is the SkyLined t-shirt depicting a meld between the Colorado flag and the Denver skyline. In between working on the CSU Spring Senior Fashion Show and adding women’s wear to his line, I got a chance to ask the founder of Sprai Apparel, a junior student in the CSU Department of Design and Merchandising, Grayden Roper, a few questions.
How was the company created? What fueled its creation?
It started with a love for street art. I used to draw all day and realized no one ever saw my drawings. I started to make t-shirts in my parent’s basement with spray paint. This all happened while I was looking at colleges. I came across the Apparel Design Department at CSU and it became a full on dream.
What was your inspiration for the brand?
I started the brand because I love street art and graffiti. I would spend hours drawing graffiti, but when I finished, I would hang it up in my room and it would never be seen beyond my bedroom. I started putting designs on shirts with spray paint and stencils and when I created a logo and name, I wanted it to show how it started. Also, I put the “i” on the end instead of a “y” because I’m dyslexic and I realize that nothing is perfect. Adding an “i” created something imperfect and original.
When you first started out, what was your method of production and where was your market?
When I moved into the dorms, I came with 25 one-of-a-kind t-shirts that I made in my parents’ basement. I sold them within a few weeks. Once I got to college, I started using a vinyl cutter and heat press in production.
As your demand increased, were you able to meet it immediately?
We are now producing our fourth line of clothing and our demand has increased tenfold. That being said, we are still trying to meet our demand.
How has being in the Apparel and Merchandising department helped you as an entrepreneur?
The department has helped me in many ways. They’ve taught me the skills I need to know, helped me make connections and showed me that my dream is a reality.
What is your favorite piece in Sprai?
I don’t know what my favorite piece is. I put so much time into every design that I couldn’t pick one.
Now that you’ve reached your Kickstarter goal, what is coming next for Sprai Apparel?
We are taking everything to the next level by bringing in more women’s clothing, hoodies and hats. Next, we are moving into cut and sew, making jackets, Colorado shirts and creating something different than anything on the market today.
As a student in the Apparel Design and Production department at CSU myself, interviewing and eventually meeting with Grayden was instantly inspiring for me. In his own words, “It started with a love for street art,” and that was all the motivation he needed. Sprai Apparel has grown beyond one college kid’s basement dream and into a symbol for all aspiring design students. Take it from Grayden’s story — we don’t need to wait until graduation to break into the industry.
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