Alec Simone ‘17 is bringing an original line of up-and-coming streetwear to the campus stores. Alec, a former business major at Stony Brook, established Critic Clothing in January of 2013, though the idea for the brand had its roots in Alec’s childhood.
“I’ve been skateboarding since I was six years old, so I’ve been immersed in a lot of skateboarding culture – that is, graphic art, videography, photography.” He credits the influence of his mother in the creation of his clothing line as well. “With my mom being an artist, I get a lot of inspiration from her. I saw a lot of her artwork growing up.” Alec said.
“One day I was just walking through a Zumiez or PacSun type store and I was looking at the shirts and I was wondering, why am I paying full price for shirts that I’m not extremely excited about?” Alec said. It was in this initial criticism of the clothing offered to him that he found inspiration to create his own brand. “When I’d see some of the shirts I’d think, okay, I can do this a little different, I like this better. And so I just kind of went for it.”
With those ideas in mind, Alec developed a brand that reflects both his hard work and passion for the product. Critic Clothing’s website describes its brand’s mission similarly: “In the end everyone’s a Critic. It’s how you transform that criticism into passion that success can be achieved.”
Alec cites the importance of networking for the success of his brand. He counts a handful of Major League Baseball players among his friends, including Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, who wore the Critic Clothing brand for a Rolling Stone interview as a favor to Alec.
It was through networking that Alec met Nadeem Siddiqui, the executive director of the Faculty Student Association, who connected him with Barnes & Noble’s Shop Red West store on campus. Stony Brook University now carries an exclusive line of Critic Clothing, available alongside Stony Brook and Seawolves logo apparel.
“I’m now in the college I used to go to, and I have such a bigger audience.” Alec is especially elated about the possibilities for brand exposure and expansion that Shop Red West offers. “I have a ton of new faces seeing the product all the time, so it’s exciting, and I’m looking forward to more brand awareness, more sales, and better opportunities.”
“It’s exciting to think that a ton of new people are going to know about Critic Clothing, know about the message, and hopefully get into our whole culture in a sense.” Alec said. “I’m looking forward to seeing you guys wear it around campus.”