Meet Zach, creator of Basketcase. Zach is a senior in college at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California, studying marketing and psychology. He describes himself as a “frequent connoisseur of tasteful things from photography to clothes to music.” On top of being a full time student, Zach works as an administrative associate for a real estate development firm (to pay the bills), and a resident assistant at an off-campus apartment (to pay living expenses). Yet, he’s still doing what he loves in pursuing Basketcase. It’s funny. When he did have a lot of free time and the desire to start a clothing brand, he couldn’t do it. It’s only when he was working sixty plus hours a week that he took the plunge into starting Basketcase. It was important to him that he begin while he was still in school, surrounded by community.
He originally got into design because of a tattoo. He couldn’t stand the thought of allowing a tattoo artist to design the tattoo - all he wanted was for the artist to follow a design that he had already picked out. Zach and his buddies had all of these tattoo ideas, so he decided to learn photoshop.
During his sophomore year of college, The Hundreds held a popup at UCI - just ten minutes away from where Zach went to school. He went, met Bobby Hundreds, and experienced closeup a bit more of this culture that he already had an interest in.
Since he was in high school, Zach would buy and sell clothes, not simply for profit, but to keep his wardrobe up to date, cycling clothes in and out. He started an Instagram account around selling vintage clothing, but he knew he couldn’t keep selling vintage forever, and so he asked himself what he could sell more long term.
Then came: Basketcase. The name Basketcase stems from this idea that creativity is closer to insanity.
Van Gogh, Edgar Allen Poe, Kurt Cobain - all artists that Zach looks up to, all were creative - no doubt - and perhaps a little crazy too.
Basketcase acts as a big name that sort of allows him to do a lot of different things creatively. If someone’s willing to accept Basketcase as a title on the frontend, he has a lot of room to work with afterwards.
Zach pulls a lot of his inspiration from mid 80s magazine work. Just like some people love seeing hair get shaved or a lawn get mowed, something about the placement in those magazines is calming for him. Zach loves architecture and blueprint stuff. Virgil Abloh’s work with Off-White and how blueprint esc it can be has really caught Zach’s eye as well.
He says that it’s important for him to have influences, while at the same time allowing for a healthy amount of time to just create honestly from who he is.
The job Zach is working right now does great at paying the bills, but not much beyond that. He’s about to graduate college and he’s got some money set aside where he could potentially just “jump off the cliff” of purely working for himself. Ideally, he’ll find a job where he’s both paying the bills and growing himself creatively. He’s also looking to find some more creative mentorship. It’s one thing to be surrounded by a creative community at your level, but Zach is looking to find someone more established in their craft.
While he understands that the audience he’s building for Basketcase comes for the clothing, Zach is looking to built the brand out into a sort of creative label where he can work together with creatives from other art forms such as music.
In clothing, Zach is looking forward to stepping into some more creative garment wear - maybe pants and shorts. Stay tuned.
Zach’s first piece of advice: don’t be too critical of yourself, but embrace the fact that nothing is actually original. It’s not pessimistic - it’s freeing.
His next piece of advice is practical - if you’re making a t-shirt, you’re making it to be worn two to three times. It’s a seasonal thing and you need to embrace the lifetime of what you are making. The branding of something, he notes, is way more important than what it actually is. Clothing is SO oversaturated. But, if you can find a way to present yourself in a way that is unique, or in a way that is honest, or in a way that is consistent and good - that is so important.
Another piece of advice: make it a job. Basketcase really became real for Zach once he committed himself to working on it for thirty plus hours a week. It's obvious Zach has and is putting hours of thought and work into his brand. Give his Instagram page a follow and his shop a looksie too.
Podcast SANS END theme music: Church by BenJamin Banger. Find him @ http://smarturl.it/hjfi20