By Audrey Wu
While many students are cleaning out their closets and spending money on spring shopping, Junior Chris Lee is busily designing, printing, and selling his own personal brand of clothing. Lee first began his ‘TROO Wear graphic tee biz’ seven months ago for fun, but his business soon expanded as his shirts gained popularity.
Smoke Signal: So tell us a little about TROO and how it all started.
Chris Lee: My clothing business was initially aimed towards a certain freedom of expression. I felt that if I didn’t do this while I still had the means to, I would miss my chance; so I decided to go for the dive. The whole process really started from scratch; I had to learn all the steps, from marketing to manual four-color process printing to designing on my own, and I’m still learning new skills every day.
SS: How did you decide on the ‘TROO’ logo and what does it mean?
CL: I thought hard about how my experiences shaped me so far and what the strongest lesson I had learned from them was. I finally chose to find a logo that symbolized “staying true to yourself, even if it meant going against the crowd,” hence the name TROO.
SS: How many shirts have you sold so far and what goes into the process of making them?
CL: I have a few scratchpads, then whole stacks of finished and unfinished designs; I have sold about 400 shirts so far, not counting the ones I gave away for promotion events. To make them, you first need to know your Photoshop. From there, you can get creative and make overlapping or patterned stencils to create black/white or color prints.
SS: Do you have a website and where can I purchase TROO T-shirts?
CL: You can shop online on my website at trooclothing.blogspot.com, or check out my myspace at myspace.com/troowear. The shop is currently getting revamped (new items coming in), so it’ll be down for a while. Also, the printing is on hold for a while because a better printer is coming in; it’ll take some time to get it shipped and up and running, so stay updated!
Image from Chris Lee’s Facebook page