Student entrepreneur creates clothing line
Person of the Week
Clothing company False Reality describes its designs as streetwear with understated and uncluttered designs and concepts meant to linger in the mind.
Nate Kramer, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, along with his brother Nick Kramer, a Drexel University sophomore, founded False Reality in July and now own and operate an online store for the clothing line. They work with screen printer Ryan Yankowich, owner of Point Tees, to print their shirts.
Although False Reality is their first clothing company, they have been making and selling T-shirts out of their backpacks and car since high school, Nate Kramer said.
“We’d drive to kids’ houses … and go traveling around town and hand out orders,” he said. “We got some money so we could start [False Reality].”
Lack of exposure to fashion or printmaking made their introduction to T-shirt production difficult. They had to start with the basics and learn by trial and error, Nate Kramer said.
That meant making mistakes. False Reality made one batch of T-shirts with a design too large for the shirt. They threw out the batch and lost money, he said.
“Any business is a struggle when you first start,” he said. “We had our ups and downs. Still do.”
Yankowich said since new clothing companies have flooded the market, newcomers find it difficult to survive.
“Some people want to do it and they start and they don’t realize how much work’s involved. … It’s kind of like a hobby,” he said. “Some other people, they give it their all and they actually can make it.”
Nate Kramer advised aspiring business owners to be prudent and find a mentor. Rather than diving in at a loss, entrepreneurs should focus on understanding the business.
One of the biggest struggles is balancing business obligations with schoolwork, Nate Kramer said.
“If an order comes in, I have to go home on the weekends and ship it out and then come back here. … It’s basically like another class, but harder,” he said. “It’s tough, but it’s well worth it.”
The brothers use the same word to describe the aesthetic of False Reality’s clothing — clean.
“Clean is just when you see someone wearing something that’s not overpowering, but sharp,” Nate Kramer said.
The team attempts to create clothing that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer, Nick Kramer said.
“None of our stuff is so over the top,” he said. “But … because each of the designs has a concept to it, it’s clean with a punch.”
One False Reality design, called “American Beauty,” shows a woman peering through a black-and-white American flag, parting the flag’s stripes like window blinds.
“Very few companies … are actually trying to go for the aesthetic,” Nick Kramer said. “The company promotes an image with something more behind it, which makes False Reality stand out.”
Pop culture, art and current events all influence False Reality’s designs, but music, especially hip-hop, is the driving force, he said.
“Chance the Rapper, people from Odd Future … the whole [Top Dawg Entertainment] movement … they’re influencing the way that the culture is right now and influencing how young designers are actually designing their stuff,” said Nick Kramer.
False Reality plans to expand beyond T-shirts and into headwear, accessories and jackets, he said.
By the time the brothers graduate from college, they hope to have enough resources, connections and money to make False Reality their career, he said.
“Everybody’s usually just following trends. We’re trying to make our own,” said Nate Kramer.