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Student-created clothing brand wants to make the world a more 'awful' place


Charles Zayed, sophomore and co-owner of Awful Cloth, poses in a T-shirt designed by his clothing line. Zayed and Fordham University student Emmit Flynn have had about 1,000 sales since their clothing line company went online in August.  Ty Vinson

With a name like Awful Cloth for a clothing line, it sounds like the clothes would be, well, awful. 

But the company, created by two college students — one an IU sophomore — already has about 1,000 sales since the online store opened Aug. 13.

The name Awful Cloth does not sound like something positive. However, co-owner and IU student Charles Zayed said it’s a clothing brand based on positivity.   

“I know, Awful Cloth, it sounds bad but it’s not,” Zayed said.  

The word awful has two definitions. According to the Awful Cloth website, awful is defined as “extremely bad; unpleasant; ugly” or “solemnly impressive; inspiring awe, full of awe; reverential.” The latter is what they want customers to think of when they buy their clothes. 

“We wanted to get across the idea everything is not what it seems,” co-owner and Fordham University student Emmit Flynn said.

Awful Cloth was an idea Zayed came up with around December of his freshman year. He got his friend from high school, Emmit Flynn, involved to draw the designs. 

Flynn also convinced Zayed to change the original name, which was Awful Waffle, to Awful Cloth. 

Zayed, who is in the Kelley School of Business, has always wanted to be in business. During his freshman year, he sold quesadillas out of his dorm room.

“So then I was like cool, if I can sell quesadillas then why don’t I make a bigger impact and sell clothing,” said Zayed. 

Flynn is majoring in Political Science at Fordham University but is thinking about changing his major to entrepreneurship.

They said they feel they do well with balancing work and school but Zayed said he gets distracted sometimes while working on homework and ends up working on Awful Cloth. 

“I’ll give up some nights just to work on the clothes,” Zayed said. 

The process of the designs begin with Flynn drawing them by hand or on his tablet. He then uses computer programs to finalize the design and make it an electronic version. They work with a third party T-shirt company to get the designs printed and then sent to consumers. 

Right now, they say they’ve been working on marketing the company. 

Flynn said he has put advertisements and stickers up where he lives, and Zayed said he plans to  advertise around IU. 

They plan to continue Awful Cloth after graduation and will keep releasing different collections with the seasons. 

They want the brand to radiate positivity and have good meanings behind it. 

“It really has much more to do with what it means to be a good person and live a fulfilling life as opposed to just design,” Zayed said. “Not being afraid to do what you want to do. Looking at perspectives differently.” 

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the name of the Kelley School of Business on first reference.The IDS regrets this error. 

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