Among the multifarious types of self-proclaimed designers promoting and selling their hats and t-shirts over the internet, there are a promising few who create notable, eye-catching threads. One of the few includes Houston native, Cam’Ron Evans. He is a student at Texas Southern University who manages both his academics and creative enterprise, Univerdge. Evans created Univerdge “with homage to the purities beyond the skies and the authentic aesthetics of the past”.
The young visionary has executed implementing retro vibes into contemporary time with his brand quite impressively and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future.
Meet the genius behind the creative realm, in the interview below.
First off, I just want to say that Univerdge is beyond dope. How did you come up with the overall theme of the brand? What sparked the retro/futuristic vibe?
Thank you so much. The overall theme of my brand came from my obsession with retro futuristic comic books, films, and TV shows as well as vintage Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s. Ah, I love classic sport cars so much. Their designs were incredible, like really a Lamborghini Countach is my all time favorite car. It just embodies the persona of a visionary. They made the future the present with that design and in my opinion that’s what the excitements of life are all about – to have your consumer feel something! I personally want my consumers to feel as though they are time traveling. Ahaha but yea my goal when I founded Univerdge was to bridge the future and the past and give people a frequency which I believe is in the vibrant colors I use. I love colors, they’re so amazing to me, so I share that passion within my pieces ya know. Finding myself in 11th grade made me take Univerdge in this direction 100%, though I was always asked if I tried to dress like the 80’s so I embraced it and made it a predominate trait of mine.
“Who knows, you might run across Univerdge at your local thrift one day. If you do, cherish that moment!”
Were you always into making clothes or just designing in general? Do you look up to any brands or creative directors/designers?
I was always into making clothes especially before it became this cliché amongst my generation. I just could never fit in, so I curated my own wave. My first brand was all about uplifting the youth but it wasn’t successful because kids don’t want to hear what someone else thinks is best for them, they want what is cool! Before I got into graphic designing, even before I had access to manufacturers, I would staple my jeans to taper them, draw “RESUME” (my old brand) on my jean jackets, and even use transfer sheets from Walmart to print out images and iron them on hoodies. Yea ahaha now that I think about it, I got picked on so much for all of that until the quality appeared within my products. When I developed Univerdge, people were able to take my vision serious because it was organic and promoted individuality, a necessity to most teenagers these days. The only designer I will ever look up to is Sebastian Du Noir. He mentored me on streetwear, aesthetics, marketing, etc. as I matured as a designer and tastemaker.
“FINISH WHAT YOU START AND RESULTS WILL SHOW.”
Tell us about your design process. Do you come up with concepts or just create whatever you think looks cool?
I usually come up with a design after an experience I had, for example; a trip with my friends determines the mood for a piece, online shopping for Raf Simons determines some of the colors I might use, watching Godfather with my family might influence some symbols within the design, or just a visit to my local art museum could contribute to the style of art I want to use. All of my daily experiences take a huge toll on the direction of my designs because I’m always thinking how can I embed what I’ve just done or ran across into Univerdge. But once I have the blueprint and the direction of the design I simply make what looks cool and appealing to someone like me looking for something different than Supreme and Palace.
What are you influenced by? Who do you look towards for inspiration, not just for the brand, but for your personal style as well?
This might sound odd but I’m influenced by a lot of fictional characters from movies, TV shows, and video games. For example, Ferris Bueller, Tommy Vercetti, Johnny Bravo, Night Rider, Jordan Belfort, and many others, depict a FAST lifestyle that I hope to experience when I reach a certain level of success. They all embody class, wit, style, and taste while dating pretty women and driving exotic sport cars. It’s just really rad how those people can come from someone’s imagination and have so much impact on who I am as a human being. My brands influenced by early study, honestly that’s about it. They were on a really cool wave, the vibes were right and I want to reinvent that for the people of my time.
“DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO BECAUSE ONLY YOU MATTER IN YOUR WORLD WITHIN THIS WORLD.”
What about your hometown? Does Houston impact your vision for the apparel?
Yea, Houston has a huge impact on the audience of my brand. There’s this shopping strip on Westheimer and Montrose full of thrift stores and tattoo shops ahaha, that’s where the authentic culture in Houston resonates. It’s a colorful strip filled with people of all colors, shapes, and sizes that are just very happy and peaceful. That’s what I hope my customers are like – diverse, happy, and in the streets, exploring. See, people go to that strip with the hope of leaving with a memory rather if it’s a piece of clothing or a tattoo, so it influenced me to always make pieces that are timeless and worth the find. I personally do a lot of thrifting so I know the feeling of finding a rare piece with a rad car or some nostalgic artwork ya know, like nothing beats that, so I wanted to make that feeling accessible to many with my products. Who knows, you might run across Univerdge at your local thrift one day. If you do, cherish that moment!
Describe a moment where you began to realize how much people genuinely supported Univerdge.
Hmm well, I’m very persistent on using social media because I feel it’s the fastest way to build and connect with your audience, so over the course of developing Univerdge into this brand it is now, I’ve gauged the market by their participation in my posts. The latest giveaway told me the people are paying attention, it consisted of my Red Panther hoodie and the purple Plotting tee and accumulated over 250 retweets with barely any promotion. That’s when I figured out people really want this product, let me make this available to the masses. Also, when I start getting emails from New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Russia, etc. to start doing international shipping, I knew this was way bigger than me just designing cause I’m done with my homework ahaha.
Has there been any notable people wearing your brand that you are aware of? If so, how does it feel to have seen them not only notice Univerdge, but support it as well?
Yea there’s been quite a few now! Byou of Lil Yachty’s sailing team rocks the 3086 Tee, IcyTwat sported the UFO pullover in Divine Council’s Mass Appeal Interview, Cyrax of divine council wore the Red Panther Pullover at the event called HAM ON EVERYTHING, Whyjae, a popular artist from Houston sported the UFO Pullover at his most recent pop up for his latest show, JG the opener DJ for acts like Chief Keef, Miguel, etc. rocks my Face-Off Tee! I have a lot of love from other talented artists and it has grown over the years. I am more than appreciative for those guys and their love and support. It keeps me going and gives me something to pat myself on the back for.
So, you’re in college and you also have your own promising brand. How do you manage being both a student and in a sense, an entrepreneur?
Balancing being a student and an entrepreneur is harddddddd. There’s just always so much homework on both sides ya know, but I actually like it because who would rather be bored than progressing in their studies and their craft? But yea two things college is teaching me though, that coexists with Univerdge, is delayed gratification and discipline. FINISH WHAT YOU START AND RESULTS WILL SHOW.
“All of my daily experiences take a huge toll on the direction of my designs because I’m always thinking how can I embed what I’ve just done or ran across into Univerdge.”
You mentioned getting picked on for stapling your jeans and drawing on your jean jackets. Loads of kids out there have their own individual style that unfortunately receive degrading remarks and are questioned on their choice of garb. What is your advice to them?
DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO BECAUSE ONLY YOU MATTER IN YOUR WORLD WITHIN THIS WORLD. See, individuality is safety for outcasts and “weirdos” because it’s the excuse we have for our unorthodox ways. It’s cool not being a robot man, I’m serious. The only limits to anything are those we place upon ourselves, so if we contort and hinder what’s natural to us just because it doesn’t conform to boring ol’ society, our destiny can become crippled and nobody needs that! The people that down your interest, style, or anything of that nature is not walking in your shoes nor inhaling your breath so don’t worry about them or let them affect your realm. Focus on what makes you happy, give it all of your energy and watch it radiate within the people you hang around, the clothes you wear, and the opportunities that manifest pertaining to your destiny. Just speaking from experience.
I’m also from Texas and in my area, it’s mainly focused on STEM, so not many people aspire to be a part of the creative industry. There is definitely have an artistic streak in Texas but in school, and even now, did you find it sort of hard to make friends who understood your vision and your interest in design?
Nah it was easy finding people that understood my interest and vision because there’s like this whole underground scene in Houston who’s on this wave that wants to reconstruct what was once there in the past and make it this aesthetic for a culture. So of course I’m going to gravitate with people that bare a common goal but it’s only a few, I’ma say that. The only thing about being a creative in Texas is the lack of authentic passionate artists around you. You have to decipher whose just trying to use you for clout and who really wants to build a vision. There’s a lot of psychic vampires in Texas too man seriously, like all the people you would want to become friends with and work with are all smoke and mirrors so it’s best if you experience and learn everything on your own.
“Focus on what makes you happy, give it all of your energy and watch it radiate within the people you hang around, the clothes you wear, and the opportunities that manifest pertaining to your destiny. Just speaking from experience.”
If you could get anyone to model your Univerdge collection, who would you choose and why?
Dead or Alive? Hmm I’ma do one of each. I would definitely get young Prince to model Univerdge. He’s one of the reasons why I am who I am today. He carried this swank that was unbelievable and was infinitely confident in every statement, outfit, and endeavor he pursued. It would be tight to see him in the U.F.O. hoodie ahaha, but alive, um Shia LeBeouf most definitely, because he is actually a style icon that very few people even look at like that. Plus, he impacted my childhood with his work, so I definitely would pay homage to him by having him be the face of one of my collections or pieces.
Express your outlook on current streetwear.
I believe streetwear is curated by this yin yang of two elements (a frequency and a chemistry). Those two elements coexist so deep within the livelihood of so many people that if it was ever to be at fault, some would lose direction. The chemistry is within the culture of skaters, artists, and musicians, etc., movements of all kinds, and the purpose of life. It’s the brink of expression as well. The chemistry influences the frequency which is within the colors of clothing and the sounds of music. Streetwear is powerful and impactful.
“That’s what I hope my customers are like – diverse, happy, and in the streets, exploring.”
Last question – You probably get asked this all the time, but besides obviously gaining immense success, what is your intent with Univerdge and where do you see it in the future?
With Univerdge, my intentions were to deliver my thesis of the importance of getting ON THE VERDGE and being the best at anything we put our mind to! I want people to know that UNIVERDGE is an example of: “anything that the mind can perceive, receive, or conceive, the body can achieve.” I see UNIVERDGE everywhere in the future, literally.