JackRabbit wants to be at the top of the food chain.
Like so many young people in New York City, Patrick Alicki and Evan Solomon hustle every day– they’re full time students at Fordham University, they work, they intern, and they run their own business. How do they have time to do everything?
Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook in his dorm room at Harvard and then dropped out to focus on the site. Steve Jobs started Apple from his basement with $1,250. Solomon and Alicki created their brand JackRabbit when they were sophomores in high school in Connecticut.
Now they are not only best friends, business partners, but also roommates. How don’t they get tired of each other?
Where did the inspiration for JACKRABBIT come from?
We were interested in streetwear and started making t-shirts for ourselves using iron-on designs when we were sophomores in high school. This process progressed into us making our own clothing brand, along with being inspired by other young brands starting up at the time. JackRabbit released its first pieces in the fall of 2012.
If you had to describe yourself (and the brand) in three words it would be…
Pat: Dr. Pepper enthusiast
Evan: sports, politics, rap
JackRabbit: the next thing
What’s the meaning behind the brand’s name?
The name did not initially have as much meaning as it does now. We picked JackRabbit because it represented an animal and allowed us to add in elements of nature into the brand. The rabbit is one of our most used design elements. As the brand has grown JackRabbit has encapsulated a lot more themes and ideas. The name means something now.
What’s inspiring you at present (culturally and or aesthetically)?
Pat: I always take in inspiration for new ideas all the time. Right now I’m focused on designing next summer’s collection. I’m looking at a lot of art that’s based in color theory or contains other chromatic elements. One artists that has particularly inspired me is Carnovsky. Almost every collection has some themes tied to nature, so that’s a constant inspiration for the brand.
The company’s motto is “survive”— what does that mean?
Our tagline, ‘Survive!’, applies to everyday life and us as a brand. As a small brand in a competitive industry, we are trying to ‘survive’ by setting ourselves apart from the competition by using innovative materials with unique designs. However, our goal is not to ‘survive’ by running away from the ‘predators’/competition, but rather to run past them. We want to be at the top of the food chain, not just simply getting by.
How do you survive/balance both work and college?
Time management is really key. We make sure to plan out everything we’re involved with and stay focused. Both of us have strong organizational skills. The most helpful thing for us is living with your business partner. We’re able to get work done in our apartment while we’re just hanging out outside of class and work.
How does your brand stand out from others?
We create unique and innovative clothing. Almost every single piece we’ve ever released was hand printed in our studio in Connecticut. Many of the pieces we release are true one of ones; no two shirts are the same. This includes pieces that feature splattered ink, a staple of our brand. We also use speciality materials like thermochromic ink, which changes from one color to another as the shirt heats up or cools down. We order this ink from Colombia as there are no suppliers in the United States.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
At first the biggest challenge was learning the entire screen printing process from the ground up. We had to learn the production process and how to manage the brand at once. Now that we are comfortable with both sides of the business, there have not been any other major challenges.
What kind of advice can you give to others who want to start their own brand?
Before you start you have to fully develop your concept. Once you have an idea about your brand and its identity, fully commit yourself. Don’t halfass it.
Goals for the brand… What’s next?
We are releasing our Fall/Winter collection ‘Open Season’ at the end of October. We will be posting snippets and teasers of the collection in the near future. We are also coordinating a pop-up shop in New York City or Connecticut before the end of 2016.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Pat: Working in the clothing industry as a designer or marketer. Hopefully continuing JackRabbit.
Evan: Running multiple businesses, JackRabbit Clothing being one of them. I can’t wait to graduate and finally enter the real world.
JackRabbit: Within five years we see the brand growing and developing on many fronts, expanding into cut and sew and creating our unique niche in the streetwear market.
Photos from JackRabbit’s summer‘16 collection ‘MIGRATION’