The student-founded I.V. Garb clothing line hosted its official debut party over the weekend to celebrate the label’s new Web site, distribution deal and recent sales success among the UCSB student population.
According to I.V. Garb co-founders, third-year UCSB students Tommy Grandsaert and Sam Cantor, the event drew some 200 guests, many of whom sported the brand’s designs. The current line includes 10 original, hand-drawn prints on solid-colored American Apparel T-shirts and features neon graphics and slogans such as “Isla Vista is for Lovers.”
Describing the brand’s aesthetic, Grandsaert said the look was “colorful and busy, with lots of drug references.”
“Just like I.V.,” he said.
Since the brand first launched its Web site, www.ivgarb.com, on April 20, the company has experienced a dramatic increase in sales and has generated interest from individuals and organizations alike.
“We’ve been contacted by a lot of groups both from within and outside of I.V.,” Cantor said.
Among these, he says, were Relay for Life, several fraternities and sororities, the I.V. Beer Pong League and a Sonoma-based clothing line.
Last week, the label signed a distribution contract with Fuzion, a clothing store located at 3120 State St. that was opened last year by former UCSB students Pete Robinson, Daniel Pennington and Shaun Bauman.
Robinson, who graduated last spring, said that he and his partners at Fuzion heard about I.V. Garb’s designs through word-of-mouth and agreed to sell the label’s products in their store.
“We carry predominantly male, underground, independent labels, many of which are produced locally,” Robinson said.
He said that the I.V. Garb products, which hit Fuzion’s shelves this week, have so far garnered a popular response from customers.
According to Grandsaert, the seeds for the young clothing company were first planted during the fall of 2006, when he designed a T-shirt bearing a Jägermeister-inspired graphic and the slogan, “UCSB Drinking Team” for some of his friends in the Anacapa dorms. The shirts, he said, were an immediate success, and he was bombarded with requests to sell more of them. According to Grandsaert, however, his operation drew the censure of University administrators, who got wind of the T-shirt design from a Facebook group he had started.
“They wrote me a letter saying I wasn’t allowed to print any clothing bearing the letters ‘UCSB,'” he said. “So we went for the Isla Vista angle instead. There is a lot of I.V. pride, and people want to rep it.”
In the past few weeks since the Web site’s inception, I.V. Garb has sold over half of the shirts it printed for its first line and has already yielded a profit, its founders said. According to Grandsaert and Cantor, most of the money generated from sales will go toward producing the next line and funding parties for I.V. Garb’s clientele.
“We are making the shirts to throw the parties,” Cantor said. “We are charitable people. There are thousands of sober kids out there, and I.V. Garb is here to help. We want to put beer in the bellies and cool designs on the shirts. Basically, we make the torsos of I.V. sexy.”
According to Grandsaert, the next line, which is slated to come out later this quarter, will feature more v-necks and tank tops for girls, as well as a variety of new graphic designs.
For the production of the last season of designs, the founders sought the input of hundreds of Isla Vista residents – mostly their friends, they admit – who voted on various designs posted on the I.V. Garb Facebook page. The designers took the rankings into account when deciding which designs to print, and said they are likely to seek the same sort of input for the new line.
All I.V. Garb shirts are available on the label’s Web site for $15 each and are hand-delivered for Isla Vista residents.