2017-05-17 / One Minute Interview

One minute with Wixom artist/clothing designer Zach Barrett


The first design Zach Barrett, a Walled Lake Western junior and clothing designer, created was this “thief design”, which is known as the Thief T. The first design Zach Barrett, a Walled Lake Western junior and clothing designer, created was this “thief design”, which is known as the Thief T. High school kids can get creative, but Walled Lake Western junior Zach Barrett has taken that into overdrive. The teen has created artwork and developed his own clothing line. The Spinal Column caught up with him to learn more about his life and clothing venture.

Hi Zach! Where are you from originally?

“I lived in Northville for most of my life, but we recently moved to Wixom.”

Where do you go to school?

“I actually attend two schools. I go to Oakland Technical Center and I go to Walled Lake Western. I’m a junior.”

What do you take at Oakland Tech?

“I do entrepreneurship and marketing. They led me in the right direction to start my brand.”

Have you always been into clothing or fashion?

“I’ve never really been a fan of fashion until last year when my friends got me into it, then I took off with it.”

What hooked you into fashion?

“I just liked seeing different stuff. You see people every day wearing Nike shorts and paisley stuff every single day. I wanted to stand out…and promote individualism.”

How do promote individualism through your brand?

“I just try to make my stuff as unique as I can; something different that hasn’t really been seen before.”

What was the first thing you ever created?

“The first thing we ever created was my thief design. Basically, it said CLA$$ICAL and right behind it was a character that looks like a thief, so we named it the Thief T. I never thought I could turn it into a brand. I was going to make this shirt and see how it sold. Everybody told me to stick with it, so that’s what I did.”

So, you are creating artwork and putting it on clothing?

“Definitely; 75 percent of the stuff I produce is hand-drawn. It’s mainly about the artwork behind it. You see brands today just putting a letter on a shirt and that doesn’t appeal to me.”

Where does your inspiration come from?

“It comes from the underground hip-hop scene. ASAP definitely played a part; Ian Connor and Playboi Carti. That’s pretty much where it came from.”

Are there any special colors that play a big part in your designs?

“Honestly, I just do whatever looks good to me. There’s no certain color wave that I go for.”

What do your friends think of it?

“My friends love it. I always have my friends over and they put up the ‘good’ symbol. They like it and I always try to give them good deals on my stuff, give them free stuff. I always like it when people around me are wearing my clothes.”

What all have you put your artwork on?

“Right now, I’m in the process of creating sunglasses. I haven’t released them yet; I haven’t given any sneak peek at all. That’s a work in progress and they’ll come out soon. What I’ve currently done, I’ve done long sleeve t-shirts and crew necks. I was going to do more hoodies, but with it being spring and getting warmer I’m focused on t-shirts. I really want to step out of my comfort zone with what I’m making. I’d like to produce some more creative, unique designs.”

You create t-shirts and hats and…?

“I’m trying to do it all. Moneywise, right now I’m kind of limited to doing shirts and top pieces.”

Do your parents invest in your clothing line, or is it funded from your work ventures?

“I’ve worked in family businesses since 2014 and I saved my money. So, when this opportunity came around, I invested my money and it paid off on my first drop. I was really excited and that’s when I knew I could keep going with this.”

Where do you find your customers?

“Definitely on Twitter (@zachjbarrett.) That’s where I posted my original design; that’s where I originated from. I don’t have any other social media I use for my brands, besides my website, www.classical.ml.”

Do you go to concerts and/or school functions to sell your merchandise?

“All of my stuff is sold online. When I have something, I tweet it out. Usually, it sells out pretty fast. I did one concert where I threw out 30 t-shirts into the crowd. It was a local hip-hop concert at Bleu Detroit in downtown Detroit. I threw out 30 shirts, took some pictures and had the performers wearing my shirts. That was pretty cool.”

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned in this venture?

“Be yourself. Don’t try to copy other people, just do what you do. If you copy other people, then you’re just giving them what they’ve already seen.”

Do you have any college plans?

“I really want to attend the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. That’s my main goal.”

And get into more artistic and creative endeavors?

“Yes, I don’t know what I want to go for yet.”

I presume along this path you’ve picked up some business skills?

“Oh, yes. Oakland Technical Center is where I learned my business skills.”

Do you have any hobbies? Do you like to cook or swim? Wakeboard or things like that?

“I skate. I haven’t skated as much this year, but that’s my main hobby besides clothing. Other than that, I don’t do anything but skate, make clothes and go to school.”

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