ŏn.us.tees Founder Andre' Taylor
Andre' Taylor is the founder and creative director of ŏn.us.tees. The Howard University grad started his business in his hometown of Washington, DC. Through ŏn.us.tees, Andre' aims to create t-shirts that promote self-improvement and community based themes.
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What led to the creation of your business? Did you see a need/gap in the industry that you wanted to fill?"Two major things led me to establish on.us.tees. The desire to wear something other than a white t-shirt and the lack of shirts with my reflection on them. So I began to make my own t-shirts, which were basically images I liked 'ironed-on' a white t-shirt. After making one-offs for myself and friends, I read about a young college student and his t-shirt line, Sharpshirter, and decided to pursue it myself. The intention was to design shirts that my peers, particular my friends, could identify with."
Are there any influences that seem to be a common thread throughout your work?"It wasn't as evident to me then as it is now but my upbringing with my father is a driving force of the designs. Honesty was one of the major tenets growing up. He always said, 'I have to be able to trust you, at all times.' Thus, the name 'on.us.tee.' Also, being there for your kids, taking care of your responsibilities, always striving to better yourself and those around you are some of the things he instilled in me. Most of which are reflected in the designs."
What role can fashion play in fostering social change?“I like to think of on.us.tees as ‘honest propaganda’. Each individual who wears a ‘Black on Black Heart’ tee shares and spreads a message that is positive and can inspire. That's the overall goal of on.us.tees. The motto is ‘because honestly, the onus is on us.’ It's on us to ‘Get It Crackin' to ‘Do Better’ and ‘Raise Your Kids’ by not ‘Letting Them Down’ and push them to ‘Be 1st.’ Those are all shirts we create, promote and sell with the hope that those messages spread amongst the people.
What legacy do you want to leave behind via your creations?"The ultimate would be for on.us.tees to become the line of social consciousness while maintaining a fun vibe that doesn't 'preach' but in the end if it only changes the way of thinking of a handful of people in a positive manner, it's a success. I started out just wanting to sell folks shirts they (and myself) could be proud of. As it stands now, I think we're doing just that."