Receiving a cease and desist letter from Walt Disney Co. and having his designs stolen have not stopped freshman marketing major Dylan Pierce from creating his own clothing brand, 122 Street Wear.
At 15 years old, Pierce launched the brand after becoming aware of the high prices for trendy Seattle-based designs, and realizing he could design similar styles for cheaper. Pierce is an active member of the skateboarding community.
“I want functional apparel that I can wear while I skate that looks good,” Pierce said. “That’s the same way I design my own apparel.”
“I have a friend in every time zone in the U.S. and then in Australia, Canada, parts of Europe, parts of Brazil and they’re wearing my T-shirts and they’re stoked.”
Dylan Pierce, creator of 122 Street Wear
Initially, Pierce co-created LRL Boards – a small company that designed skateboards and longboards. When LRL didn’t take off, he said he put all his time and effort into clothing design for his new brand, 122 Street Wear.
“[The brand] is all really based on skateboarding and my friends in the skating community because they’ve been huge supporters,” Pierce said.
Pierce is working with fellow skaters Megan Haver and Chris Sato to further expand the company. With his first year of college coming to a close, he said he has interacted with a larger, more diverse group of people and hopes his new designs will match the new demographic.
Haver is a graphic design major at the Seattle Art Institute and has helped Pierce design his upcoming line and photographed promotional photos for the brand with Pierce.
“Working with Dylan goes along with the idea of supporting local companies and working with the people you know, and not just a big corporation,” Haver said.
122 Street Wear has sold a variety of T-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers targeted at young adults and skaters. Many of the products can be found at Motion Boardshop in Seattle and Flatspot Longboards in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Pierce said the most popular design, a parody of the Disney logo with the Seattle skyline instead of the castle, received the most attention and jump started the popularity of his company.
The design became popular enough for Walt Disney Co. to send Pierce a cease and desist letter for plagiarizing their logo. He said the corporation asked him to stop selling and marketing the design, but he’d already copyrighted the design and was legally in the clear.
Pierce has also dealt with the same design being stolen by other brands in the Seattle area. On nine or ten different occasions, he said he’s seen his design elsewhere, but doesn’t have the time, money or energy to fight other companies for it.
While some of his designs parody other major companies like Walmart and SeaWorld, most of his work is inspired by Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, Pierce said.
“I love where I’m from, more than anything,” Pierce said. “You see a lot of my design work,especially my personal favorites, are all very Seattle, mountain, tree-based.”
Pierce said all of his merchandise was originally sourced in the Northwest. The first products he designed were printed in the back room of the skate shop, Motion Boardshop, where he worked.
As a freshman in college, Pierce said his greatest accomplishment isn’t his designs being sold in skate shops in Seattle and Vancouver, but the fact people around the world are wearing his designs.
“I have a friend in every time zone in the U.S. and then in Australia, Canada, parts of Europe, parts of Brazil and they’re wearing my T-shirts and they’re stoked,” Pierce said.
He’s working with Haver and Sato to design 30 new pieces of merchandise which will be released on the website, 122streetwear.com, in September. This June, Pierce said he hopes to re-release a few of his old designs.