Stereotype Co's own Dave Noodlez was recently invited to take his experience of fashion into the JCC's Carter Center to teach kids how to 'Turn Ideas Into T-Shirts'. Dave has been with Stereotype since Day 1. Not only co-founding the company he has printed 95% of the T-Shirts that are ordered around the world on our site. Many of which have been made in his parents basement. Stereotype Co still operates out of his parents house to this day. We linked up with Dave and gave him a chance to reflect about this experience working with kids to create an Anti Bullying line.
Dave: "When Miss Claire invited me to make this program I got really excited. This was something I always dreamed of doing. I always wanted to work with kids.
It's interesting though because when you get the opportunity you realize all the pressure that falls on you and you're like "Oh damn I gotta do all this work now." I never had a curriculum or programs ready. This was just something I wanted to do. Now I had to mold the idea into something organized that made sense and publicly act on the dream.
How was preparing for the classes?
I spent hours preparing for each class. I really got a chance to see what teachers go through. I have so much respect for them. They are in class for 1-2 hours but probably spend double that time preparing.
Did anything happen that you didn't expect?
I had a good group that would be there from the beginning but some would pop in unexpected. It tests your patience but you learn how to operate in random situations. You can't plan how every minute of a class is going to go.
How did you come up with the theme of Anti-Bullying?
It was an idea that Miss Claire and the kids came up with while I was at SXSW. Bullying was one of the first important topics we spoke about at Stereotype Co so when I heard that was the direction they wanted to go in I knew we would make some good stuff.
What was the process on the collaboration?
After the theme was picked I gave the kids free reign to create off that theme. I just informed them on what we could do with our equipment and the size restrictions. They each drew up their designs. They were all very sure of their designs.
Once they each had their designs I sat with each one for about 20 minutes. We then picked out icons, fonts and symbols. I opened up Pages and Photoshop and would ask them like 20 questions. I normally ask "This or This? I would let them visually see how the designs would look giving them different sizes, fonts and colors options. They would then vote for what they liked best.
How many designs did you make?
We made 5 designs.
Here are the designs they came up with for the 'Anti Bullying' Clothing Line
X-OUT BULLYING by Rahman
If You Stop Bullying by Larry
Bullies Are Mean by Rakim
Do You Know That Words Hurt? by Desmond
It Is Good To Be Nice, Bullying is The Worst by Davaugh
What have you learned from this experience?
I learned that I love what I do. I learned that if you are out there doing good work people will imagine ways you can take your skills to a new place. I learned about what young people like and dislike. I learned that if you give a young person an opportunity they can make something of it. I learned that if you provide resources and information to young people it can be really beneficial to them. I learned that teachers put in a lot of work that we don't see. I have a great admiration for teachers and what they do. I only did this program once a week for almost 2 months. My job was easy. Teachers deserve a lot of respect waking up early every day to help teach the youth.
I learned how great a place JCC Carter Center was. They provide after school programs for the youth. I was inspired to see all the great things they had going on there. It was an honor to share my passion for fashion there. Thank you Miss Claire and Deb for the opportunity.
Stereotype Co has plans to do a lot more in the community in 2016. We have been raising funds for Staten Island Arts Lark Fund every month donating 5% of every sale to help them replace and repair instruments in schools. Join Stereotype Co on Instagram to learn about upcoming events and projects.