As of Friday, October 30, 2015
Graphic tees—specifically, street, skate and athletic wear—have had an impact on the apparel industry. Whether T-shirts are mass-produced as part of the fast-fashion trend or cut from quality fabrics, there always seems to be a place for them in the market.
Los Angeles–based clothing and accessories line Electric Family was conceived during a trip three years ago to Miami when a group of friends visited the Winter Music Conference. They set out to create an apparel company—specifically, tees and bracelets—that could positively affect communities worldwide by bridging their passion between fashion and music.
With a philanthropic edge, the collective launched Electric Family online in September 2012. Since then, Matt Dronkers, Andrew Nilon and Steve Brudzewski have been the masterminds behind the e-commerce site, leading with their incentive to establish a socially responsible lifestyle brand.
Co-owner Nilon did not have a seasoned apparel background, but he did have a desire to learn. Brudzewski handles artist relations, and Dronkers, whose title is creative director, previously owned Thriving Ink, an apparel brand that existed a few years before Electric Family was launched.
Their collection features street-inspired, graphic-heavy hoodies, tanks, T-shirts, bracelets and snapbacks. Design inspiration is culled from electronic music and the community, which makes for a futuristic, clean style with hints of neon colorways. The T-shirts and hoodies are cut from cotton fabrics sourced locally. Custom pieces are manufactured in Los Angeles. Wholesale price points vary between $16 for a T-shirt, $27 for a crew neck and $32 for a hoodie.
“Electric Family is the first street-style brand to be born from within the electronic-music community,” Nilon said. “One of our primary objectives in growing this brand has been to harness the positivity present in the dance music scene and use it to do good on a larger scale. Our apparel, bracelets and accessories act as the vehicle for executing this strategy.”
Through company-held events, Electric Family has worked heavily on artist-collaborative bracelet designs to raise funds for specific charities and volunteer activities. They have received a lot of support from the artist and concert circuit with successful selling ventures at music festivals as well.
The company has also used social media as a forum to reach out to its fans and customers. “We grew up during the rise of the technology era, and that has definitely shaped our view of the world. We can now connect with people worldwide in a matter of seconds through our phones,” Nilon said. “We can see the struggles many people face all around the world. We have adopted this mindset that profits and revenue growth are not the only important metrics to consider in business. Our team feels that we have a duty to help others and so we made it part of our company culture. A business can be wildly profitable and still positively impact the lives of others. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”
The collection is sold primarily on the Electric Family e-commerce site, but within the last few months the company has branched out and partnered with three retail boutiques in California and six in the United Kingdom.
Currently, Electric Family is launching a new collection on Karmaloop featuring some of its best-selling pieces and some exclusive tie-dye pieces. The company is also releasing a special-edition “collaboration jacket” with DJ/producer duo Adventure Club, based out of Montreal.
The group recently showed at the Venue Trade Show at Style Fashion Week in Los Angeles. Next year, Electric Family will attend the Agenda trade show in Long Beach, Calif., and the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas.
For the company, the message is clear: “If we unite together, we can change the world for the better,” Nilon said.
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