In the summer of 2020, JD Grant approached his friends, Savitha Mukundan and Alexis Soulias, with an idea. “It would be so cool if we started something, and had students from other campuses wear stuff that we made, but not know where it came from,” Grant said.
Mukundan and Soulias embraced Grant’s idea, and the three eventually developed this idea into the clothing brand Hooligans — a streetwear line that aims to promote embracing yourself and your differences.
Hooligans partners with an organization for each of their clothing drops, pledging to donate 20% of their profits to.
“This community of ‘hooligans’ is made up of people who aren’t like other people,” Mukundan said. “It’s more than just a clothing brand. It’s a community of people coming together for a cause and who choose their wild and fun side.”
With all members on board and a name picked out, the creators started on their first drop. They decided to release their products by drop, a common streetwear practice, which allows for an aspect of exclusivity and for them to be intentional about their partnerships.
For this collection, design led the process. Grant liked the idea of having a heart on a hoodie, which informed their theme of mental health and self-love.
From there, the creators landed on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They wanted to highlight Suicide Prevention month, something they found to be especially relevent to their target demographic of college students, in which there is a huge epidemic in suicide rates, stress, anxiety and depression, Soulias said.
“I thought this drop was really cool because there aren’t a ton of wearable designs that preach mental health,” Grant said. “I think our designs are pretty cool and pretty wearable, so it’s a great way to get that message across.”
The Self-Love and Positivity Holiday drop was a great success and exceeded their expectations. They were especially surprised by the reach they had, receiving orders not only from friends and family, but from people they had never met before or lost touch with.
“We would’ve been happy if we were able to just get enough money to pay out the clothes that we had bought for ourselves. We ended up making a lot more than that, which was crazy to us,” Mukundan said. “We could tell that people really liked the designs and the idea behind it.”
While this has been an incredibly rewarding experience for the founders, it hasn’t been easy and there has been a large learning curve, Grant said.
Grant, who deals primarily with the manufacturers, orders and finances, said the first issue they encountered was finding a manufacturer. They wanted to make sure they were able to offer customers a range of high-quality products, for they aim to make clothes that are stylish, affordable and good quality.
Seeing as Grant had no prior experience with creating clothes, he had to learn how to navigate all the hiccups along the way in the most professional manner, ranging from delays due to broken printers to items going out of stock.
The team also found themselves honing their collaboration and time management skills.
The three sophomore college students had a bit of difficulty balancing their studies and this project, but were committed to put the work in during their free hours.
There were times they found themselves clashing visions — even the best teams do — but it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed with some dedication and communication, Mukundan said.
Consultation was an integral part of the process. Although Mukundan led the design process and Soulias primarily came up with the ideas and colors for the pieces, there was a constant back and forth between all the members contributing their ideas.
They wanted to make sure everything was perfect, so much so that the designs for the holiday drop, which they had worked on for months, weren’t finalized until a week before, Mukundan said.
“Knowing that all of us really were making this as perfect as it could be in the time period that we had, we pushed and pushed and it made it a lot easier to compromise and make sure everything was exactly what we wanted it to be,” Mukundan said.
Hooligans’ next drop is planned for June 2021, which they intend to center around Pride month.
“What we want to do in the future is push our designs, push our boundaries,” Soulias said. “There’s always a way to do what you want and represent yourself with style.”
The team is excited to show support for other causes and events they care about, such as Black Lives Matter and Black History Month, Earth day and environmental sustainability, LGBTQ+ and more.
They ultimately hope to broaden their reach and grow the Hooligans community.
“Just putting it out into the world and seeing it take fire itself is definitely the best part,” Grant said. “Whatever you take away from the website, or whatever you share on Instagram, know that this is a real community of people who care about certain issues and hope to promote solutions and awareness to those issues where we can.”