Fashion has always and forever will be an integral part of culture. It is essentially a form of art and self expression. Many large, corporate retail brands first began as solely an idea, and over time have evolved into what they are known as today. Similarly, many Ohio University students have the same aspirations. From marketing to fashion merchandising students, several of them have taken their futures into their own hands by founding brands of their own.
Griffin Hart, a senior studying analytics and marketing, has established a company better known as “TwoCups,” that according to Hart, was “started to make people laugh and get more involved with their peers by seeing videos/pictures of their friends on all [of their] social media,” @twocupsofficial. Not only are videos similar to Barstool Sports posts, but modern merchandise can be purchased as well as won through contest entries.
In just a short amount of time, “TwoCups” has gained a lot of recognition and an extensive following amongst college students. The brand that had just been created in “the beginning stages of COVID-19,” has already amassed over 1,100 followers, as well as sold clothing to over 200 people.
TwoCups’ goals as a brand is to continue the growth it has been seeing as well as reaching out of Athens and extending to other college campuses.
“There’s no better feeling than walking around town, or looking at someone’s social media and seeing someone wearing one of your shirts. You just can’t beat it,” Hart notes.
Hart feels enormous pride in the brand he has built up and is thankful for the overwhelming support from the Athens and OU community.
“As a brand, I’m proud of the fact that people look at TwoCups as a community. Whenever people see me, they always yell ‘Yo! TwoCups!’ And I always yell it back,” Hart said. “I feel as though we’re a people’s brand. I’m connected to so many people through much more than just selling them a shirt or what not. They’re supporting something much bigger than that, and that’s a company that’s involved with the community. We also sent over 50 shirts, flags and stickers to my uncle who is currently deployed in Afghanistan to show our support for the troops, which I thought was pretty cool.”
Likewise, Annie Muscarella, a sophomore studying fashion merchandising, feels the same. Muscarella originally started up a brand as a way to earn money, but found that the gratification of seeing others wearing her clothing was much more fulfilling.
“Even though it’s still a super small brand and doesn’t have a huge following, I still sometimes see people walking around campus in my sweatshirts; it’s the best feeling in the world,” Muscarella said.
Muscarella’s brand’s inspiration, “in fear of x,” (@infearofx) came from wanting to incorporate the universal concept of love.
“I knew that a lot of other brands had to do with love, so I looked up synonyms for in love with and found in fear of,” Muscarella said. “From there I kept brainstorming and thought, how cool would it be to have people’s real fears and customize them. The idea was different, and I went from there.”
There is a list of many different fears one can choose from. Some fears include in fear of, “never finding love,” “abandonment,” and “the future.” Muscarella however said her most popular fear was, in fear of “f***boys.”
“I think it’s hilarious and perfect for our generation,” Muscarella said.
A unique aspect of Muscarella’s brand is that one can either choose what their crewneck says, or Muscarella can pick for the customer.
“Personally, I love having it be random, because it’s like an Easter egg and you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Muscarella shared.
Candace Clark, a junior studying fashion product development and retail merchandising, on the other hand, focuses more on the designs themselves rather than a prominent brand name.
Designing clothes came naturally to Clark, as it was her passion.
“Creating simplistic art has always been a passion of mine. I am very inspired by simplistic designs and making each design unique,” Clark said. “I love designing clothing and incorporating drawings of cities into my designs as well.”
Originally, Clark made merchandise for herself and didn’t begin sharing and selling her work until her friends began asking her to make designs for them. As a result, Clark created an Instagram, @candaceeclark, “that displayed all of [her] drawings and gave [her] followers the option to order shirts or prints,” according to Clark.
Though all three creators have different goals and directions they would like to take, they all commonly plan on developing and thriving.
For TwoCups creator, Griffin Hart, he has significant plans for the near future that include interacting with followers and fans, and also starting a podcast.
“I’d like to be able to advertise more by going to other colleges and throwing parties or what not to advertise for us,” said Hart. “In the future, I plan on starting a podcast called ‘Sunday Brunch’ that will be on Spotify as well as Apple Music. I also want to host a beer pong tournament. I think that it would be fun for everyone, and also help us out too in terms of advertising. We also want to get more brand ambassadors, which would be huge for us! The more people showing off TwoCups, the better.”
As for Muscarella, she has samples of sweatpants in progress and dabbled with the brand’s slogan, “What’re you afraid of,” and is additionally, sketching out ideas for a logo.
“I plan on coming out with a lot more stuff so stay tuned,” Muscarella encouraged.
Lastly, Clark plans on opening an online store and selling more than just shirts.
“I want to create tanks, sweat pants, sweat shirts, etc. I am so excited for the opportunities that lie ahead,” Clark expressed.