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Ezra Young: On Starting AREZ, His Independent Clothing Business

Ezra+Young+stands+next+to+a+piece+of+his+art+displayed+at+SPRAYFiNGER.
Ezra Young
Ezra Young stands next to a piece of his art displayed at SPRAYFiNGER.

If you’re in search of a local, independently-run street wear brand, look no further than AREZ. Ezra Young, currently a junior at Roseville Area High School, recently launched his own brand of hand-printed clothing in late 2023. Although he is not yet selling publicly on a website, his shirts are available to purchase through the brand’s Instagram, ‘arez.clothingmn’.

Four of Ezra Young’s t-shirt designs for AREZ.

Although art has been a staple throughout his life, Young said he was around 12 when he started taking it more seriously. He credits his love of art to his own family, specifically his parents. His family, being very artistic in nature, exposed him to that world at a young age.

“I spent a lot of time around art and clothes as a kid…I think there’s nothing better than a creative outlet. With art you can infinitely improve and there is no limit unless you set one for yourself,” Young said.

Young says another reason he got into printing specifically is a RAHS class he took his freshman year: Intro to Media Arts (since renamed Print Design One), especially the projects he was assigned throughout the course.

“[When I] took the class I specifically remember loving the now retired custom t-shirt project. I thought it was a perfect combo. If you enjoy creating art, then what’s better than wearing that art on clothing that you made?” Young said.

As far as the amount of work going into this business, Young expressed the difficulty of managing by himself as well as keeping up with the demand for his hand-printed shirts. In addition to balancing school, sports, and other activities, it’s been difficult to prioritize a business on his own. However, Young says the payoff is always worth it.

“…[At the end of the day] it will always be fantastically satisfying and rewarding to get people a product they enjoy and appreciate, and that will always push me to keep going,” Young said.

Young acknowledges that he would not have gotten this far without creative feedback and support. According to Young, it is essential to receive critical feedback in order to grow and improve.

“The creative process requires a lot of other voices and opinions if you really want to make a good piece or product,” Young said.

Young’s artistic mentors include Peyon Scott Russel, a local graffiti artist, and Mr. Joyce, the print design teacher at RAHS. Russel’s organization SPRAYFiNGER, a group for local graffiti artists, is where Young has had opportunities to exhibit and sell his work, travel, experiment with art styles, and much more.

Although he cannot pin down one person who has influenced him the most, Young credits the graffiti artists Rime MSK, YEN34 HM, and DAESK as significant inspirations for his work. Young also gets inspiration from the world of fashion and design.

“… I’m a big fan of Alexander McQueen, the fashion designer. For street wear I’m a big Ed Hardy fan, which is based on classic tattoo motifs and art styles,” Young said.

A t-shirt designed by Ezra Young for AREZ.

When reflecting on this experience as a whole, Young is most proud of his achievements as an independent artist and business owner, working only with himself. He is hoping to eventually ship out his designs to a producer, and is currently working on his ability to sew.

“The fact I can prove my ability to make these clothes myself makes me proud,” Young said.

As far as life after high school, Young is confident in his goal to pursue a creative career. He highlights how more often than not, artistic jobs are given a bad reputation for being a risky career field. Regardless, Young is confident that pursuing something he loves will always be worth it.

“I’m completely okay with taking a risk to do something I really love and enjoy,” Young said.

 

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