28 Stories of How Clothing Companies Picked Their Names!

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me about how certain brands got their name or asked for a suggestion on picking a name I could actually run IAMTHETREND full-time! Well being proactive I decided to contact a bunch of indie clothing companies to get the scoop on exactly how they picked their brand name and what the significance and story is behind it.

I received answers from some of the biggest names in the indie clothing tee game such as Glamour Kills, Electric Zombie, Full Bleed and UGMONK as well as a bunch of up and comers. Sharpen your pencils and get ready to take some notes! You can also click on any clothing company name to go straight to their website!

So how did you come up with your companies name and is there any significance or story behind it?

 

Electric Zombie

Electric Zombie originally got it’s name from a t-shirt design for the band FROM FIRST TO LAST. I always tried to come up with some sort of good name for my t-shirt designs. I really hated when designers or merch companies named them something lame, like “Chair”, “Clouds”, or “Hot Bitch”. Okay, that last one wasn’t really one. But, you get the point. So I had this shirt design made up of me in a suit, and some whatever zombie images I found and added some really crappy lightning bolts and some Plugs and wires I took photos of. At the time, this was a ground breaking design. 2005 baby… I gave it the name “Electric Zombie”. I liked the name so much, that I changed my graphic alias to that. It sounded better than previous names, especially the one before that, “Converse Kid”, I know it’s lame but until 2003, when I traded my converse in for slip ons, the name fit.

From 2005-2007, I spent my time working with clothing companies, Heartcore, Entrust, and Rockett. Once all my hard work and working 3 jobs all the time, finally paid off, I landed a job with Warner Bros, took the massive salary (for a kid paying 400 bucks a month in rent), falling out with all 3 of the companies I once worked for, I had my eyes on continuing my legacy, and needed a name. It was right under my beak of a nose the whole time, Electric Zombie.

UGMONK

Actually came about pretty randomly. I came up with a bunch of different names, many had to do with design or apparel, but then kept coming back to “Ugmonk” (random, but had a nice ring to it). It was weird enough to stand out, while still being short and memorable. I like the idea that before I started Ugmonk, the word itself was ambiguous and had no preconceived meanings associated with it. This allowed me to define what “Ugmonk” is and represents.

Glamour Kills

I was about 19 when I started Glamour Kills. I knew I wanted to started a clothing company. I had a ton of designs and I knew the direction I wanted to bring my brand but I had no idea for a name. One day Im just driving in a car with a friend and bouncing names and ideas off of one another and Glamour Kills kind of stuck. There really is no great story behind it or special significance just a happy accident that stuck. Sometimes happy accidents work out well. Thank goodness this one did.

Stheart

So many people ask for the correct pronunciation. It’s fairly simple, just say “start”. My older brother was actually the one who suggested it way back when & I loved it. It’s simple, yet effective. The word is a combination of “start” & “heart”, it’s all about the beginning of something new & following your dreams. Basically, do something with your life & make sure to give it your all!

Full Bleed

When I started Fullbleed in 2004 I didn’t want to get lumped in with the rest of the companies who were labeling themselves “_____ clothing” or “_____ apparel” when all they were making was t-shirts. I wanted something that could stand on its own and have a double meaning, similar to the style of t-shirts I designed. I could lie and say there is some deep meaning to it, but I just wanted something that had appeal, but didn’t exactly mean what it sounded like. I decided to run with the graphic design term “full bleed” which the unsuspecting buyer might think sounds cool, but in reality it is just a term for a specific type of printing method.

Seventh.Ink

I am frequently asked where I came up with the name Seventh.Ink because not only is the name itself different but it also contains a bit of punctuation right in the middle of the name. Seventh.Ink’s name actually comes from my graphic design company, Seventhfury Studios. Since I do everything for both companies and also because Seventh.Ink is a sort of subsidiary of Seventhfury, I wanted to tie them together with similar names.

You might guess that my favorite number is seven, which is of course the biggest impact on both names. I come from a family of seven and my birthday is March 7th, those are two reasons behind my fondness for the number. Plus, you can’t go wrong with good ‘ol Lucky 7.

Overall, the names of both companies bring a certain amount of my personality into them which makes them more of a part of me and keeps me motivated to keep on creating and shaping them as my own.

Kill Brand

In 2001, Kill Brand was created by Jonny Smith, while on tour in the band Tokyo Rose. With a hot pink T-shirt and black spray paint in hand, he randomly graffitied K-I-L-L (as a joke) across the front of the Tee, and was his staple show shirt. Before long, Jonny was designing, spray-painting, and selling his T’s out of the back of the tour van.

As demand grew, he invested in a screen printing machine (that he used in his studio apartment). For years Jonny personally screen-printed every item by hand with his signature, KILL. Kill Brand’s notoriety grew as Jonny left Tokyo Rose and pursued promoting the apparel at music festivals across the U.S. Now Kill Brand is currently available in chain stores like Hot Topic Karmaloop, D-tox, Zumiez, and over 300 retail stores worldwide.

Snakes & Suits

The name is a shot at people who do things for the wrong reason. Generally, they’re referred to as a snake or a suit. The idea was to use the name as more of a stab at that kind of person but do the opposite and help others.

Goodie Two Sleeves

When inspired with the idea to create a positive humor based clothing brand in 2002, we were faced with the dilemma of what to name it. Surprisingly, in less than 24 hours I stumbled upon a clever wordplay, mixing 1980′s music artist Adam Ant’s ode to the prim and proper with a staple feature of t-shirts, it’s sleeves. We figured we could easily update the antiquated expression ‘Goody Two Shoes,’ a term originally coined in the 1600′s, with the same wit and charm we would lovingly instill within each t-shirt design. Thus, Goodie Two Sleeves® was born, a uniquely earnest business name that lends itself directly to our corporate image and target market.

Sugar Steak Apparel

I wanted a name that people wouldn’t be able to forget, even if they hated it, they wouldn’t forget hearing it. I still don’t know exactly how I thought of Sugar Steak, I wish I had a cooler story of how I pieced it together, but I literally thought of it one night in the shower. I had gotten in from a rough night out and “BAM!” it just hit me, “Sugar Steak.” It was a glorious moment! I later tacked on “Apparel” so I could get the ASS-backwards effect because it helped define the brand. I may have a biased opinion, but I love the name and I know people don’t forget it, which is exactly what a brand name should do, create awareness. When you think of it, most brand names are weird when you first hear ‘em, but that’s exactly what makes them work.

Miles To Go

Miles To Go comes from a Robert Frost poem called “stopping by the woods on a snowy evening”. named my belt company miles to go belts about 9 years ago even though it had nothing to do with belts and when i did clothing used it because by that point everyone just called me miles or miles to go anyway. the list of names i had before choosing miles to go for the clothing was pretty dumb, ha. i have had “miles to go before i sleep” tattooed on me since i was 18 and im now 31, so that poem has been with me for a long time.

RIPT Apparel

We knew we wanted to sell limited edition t-shirts for only 24 hours, and after they’d be laid to rest forever in our T-Shirt graveyard. The RIPT in RIPT Apparel actually stands for “Rest In Peace Tees”. We’ve haven’t really ever spelled that out before on the website, and I’m not sure many people even know that, but RIPT does actually mean something.

Prestigious

Prestigious, by definition, alludes to a sense of elevated stature- regality, you may say. Prestigious as an adjective is a postive, powerful term. That’s how I felt inside when the idea to begin a brand, a movement of my own, became swollen enough to come to life. The best products (I print only on American Apparel) made with the strongest care and concern command a sense of prestige (only 100% vegan products will ever be released bearing the Prestigious brand name, and everything is made in the USA under fair labor regulations).

Yema Yema

Yema is actually the spanish world for yolk, egg yolk. What does “yema” have to do with t-shirts then? Well, Yema was also a nickname given to a little girl who was very curios, full of life, dreams and with a bright, colorful personality. The idea if this person is what “Yema” represents. Life, color, energy and a bright wacky personality. I chose Yema as the name of my brand because i still remember what it was like to be that little girl.

Fresh Prints

The name, Fresh Prints Clothing, began as an inside joke. I started a DIY screen printing project in my college dorm room, printing shirts for my band and other bands from the area, to help pay for tuition and miscellaneous bills. With little experience in screen printing, I often left finger prints on the projects. Rather than waste a ton of tees, I would often wear them, finger prints and all (I was a broke college kid, what can I say?) These blooper tees jokingly became known as the “Fresh Prints.” The name sort of inspired me, and one day while messing around I designed a tee that was a parody of the show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and it instantly became a hit. Since then we have continued to produce tee shirts that are fun and make people smile.

Draw LTD

Draw Ltd. got it’s name from the basic idea that anyone and everyone can Draw. Since the foundation of our company was everything was hand-drawn, the name Draw just fit. It wasn’t just name, but a call to action for what we’re trying to get people to do.

Parative Clothing

With the name I originally wanted already taken for a company name, I creatively went to the dictionary. I stumbled on the word partitive, meaning to break apart. At the beginning this resembled the bands that I worked with “breaking apart” as they all went in different directions playing shows. As the concept of my brand grew, it took on a new meaning of breaking apart the slave trade industry in Southeast Asia. But from the start, like a fourth grade spelling champ, I misspelled it creating PARATIVE.

Wolves Vs Lions

WolvesVsLions got its name when a friend and I were discussing naming trends in bands and realized how many include Lions and Wolves. For example In midst of lions, wolves at the gate, lions lions, to speak of wolves. So thats about it. Just a sort of inside joke that allows for interesting illustrations.

Tripleta

Back in 2005 I decided to take my art to the masses through t-shirts. And so, my best friend, my boyfriend and I decided to join up and make this thing happen. We needed a snazzy, catchy and unique name to set us apart from everything. Since food is an epic latin passion, we thought of a Tripleta (pronounced: Tree-Pleh-Tah), a popular Puerto Rican sandwich that has 3 different kinds of meat. And since we were 3 friends with a lot of taste…Tripleta was born! Since then, we treat our products like deli sandwiches, and have fashioned everything, from our online shop to our uniforms with that deli cook flavor. ¡Buen Provecho!

Maintenance

The name and overall concept of “MAINTENANCE” came way before the brand did. I used to spend a lot of time doodling and journaling. One night I journaled, as a note to self: ” Always remember to maintain the things you love.” I found that phrase catchy, and towards the bottom of the page I scribbled the word “MAINTENANCE”. From there, I made a list of all of the elements in my life that I had to balance: work, friends, money, hobbies, relationships. I realized that if I simply remember to MAINTAIN each thing equally- my life will be in order. Shortly after this revelation and new way of thinking, I thought a clothing brand would be a rad way to represent this strait forward way of positive and proactive thinking.

Endgame

I knew that I wanted to start a chess themed clothing line, but given chess’ horrible public image, I didn’t want the name to scream, “chess!” I wanted something more subtle…something that people might not even associate with chess.

“Endgame” is the classic term for the final phase of a chess game when there are only a few pieces left on the board. It has also, more recently, been adopted to describe the final content in video games. I thought Endgame would be a winner because it was true to my chess niche, but also had some relevance to the larger gamer crowd.

Free Movement Projec (FMP Clothing)

Actually, Free Movement Projec was not the original name of my brand. I was still playing with the idea of starting a brand years ago, I had came up with the name “For My People Clothing” and proceeded to create designs centered around this name. The name didn’t last a week. I was forcing myself to design in a style that was unnatural for me. After I ditched the name and designs, I was back a square one. I needed a new name but I was already in love with the acronym F.M.P. So, I worked to find a name that fit ‘me’ and the acronym. And that’s is when I came up with “Free Movement Projec” as it stood for the freedom of creativity, which is what I love. The “T” on “Projec” was left off for stylistic purposes :)

Go Ape

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with apes. In high school, my group of friends would call each other “ape” instead of “dude”, “dude brah”, or whatever kids are saying these days. I had an ape mask that we’d play pranks with, and I own the Planet of the Apes DVD box set. All of that, plus it’s a play on words of “go ape shit”, which basically means to go really nuts about something. Oh, and also, the abbreviation is GAS.

Turista Clothing

I always answered what people wanted to hear. “A doctor!” “A police officer?” “Maybe I’ll work at a Department store and work my way up…” If you replied that question today, with the knowledge you
posses now, would it make a difference? I know for me it has. I would like to travel the world.

Turista Clothing Co. was born out of the urge to do unique things, and live with passion for our jobs. To enjoy life, instead of merely existing, and dreading our days when we headed off to our miserable routines.

Peasoup Clothing

Peasoup Clothing came out of the ashes of Peasoup Records which never really got off the ground. I always wanted to do clothing but had planned to do it after the label. Chris (co-founder of Peasoup Clothing) was helping me out with the design aspect of the label and I asked him to come on board with the Clothing line. He is also my best mate so we have always wanted to do something together in this type of capacity.

The name Peasoup was thrown up during a drinking session when trying to come up with a name for the record label. It was kind of a ‘it should just be called something daft like….err….I dunno…. Peasoup Records or something’

Vicious History

I know that history can be boring for many people so I took my passion for the subject and combined it with a bold word that would help give my brand name a contemporary feel. I wrote down hundreds of word ideas and tried them out with the emptees crowd until I found something that was unique, easy to remember and portrayed the in your face brand image that I was going for.

TwnSrpnt

I love snakes and I obviously wanted to incorporate something snake related. At first it was just me (Rob) designing business cards and logos for friends and family. I went by the name of Rob the Snake. When I started getting more and more requests to do stuff, I called my brother to join in the action. We love mafia flicks and one day we came up with Twin Serpents Mafia which represented my brother and I. It sounded cool to us and to our friends but when we started handing business cards and flyers, older people looked at us weird. What’s this Mafia thing? Then we started doing shirts inspired by Mafia stuff. Wrong again, cops came up to us. “Is this some sort of gang?” We almost got kicked out of a flea market. That’s when we decided to drop “Mafia.” It was just Twin Serpents but…twinserpnts.com and twinserpent.com domains were already registered. When I started designing the logo, the name looked weird and unbalanced next to the logo so I tried removing the vowels of serpent and that’s how TwinSrpnt came up to be.

Regret Clothing

When choosing the name for my brand I put the following into consideration. The term ‘regret’ means; a distress about something that one wishes could be different. This is what Regret means, well to me at least. I spent most of my life with second guesses and I wanted all of that to end. So I call my brand Regret, it’s the idea of what regret as a word means to everyone and the making it truly mean the opposite of its connotation. Instead of regretting all the things I didn’t do or could have done, I am now doing those things and taking those chances. I myself want to live life to the fullest and that’s what I want to encourage people to do through Regret Clothing. Which is why I decided to name my brand Regret, life is way too short to be unhappy, so live a life worth living. After all life can be a party, just make sure you invite yourself to it.

Johnsaurus

I drew a little guy in a dino pajamas and I’ve day dream almost every school day about him going on adventures. Discovering and beating up mean dinosaurs that gets in his way, I thought really hard about his name. So a few days of brainstorming, I came up with the name “Johnsaurus”. I was very happy with it and it just seems pretty awesome. The name John came from me and the saurus came from the Tyrannosaurus, He’s pretty much the kid in me. I decided to bring Johnsaurus’s adventures onto shirts first and little by little, I’ll introduce dinosaurs, villains, and more characters. Pretty soon, I’m hoping to have like a youtube episodes or tumblr episodes. who knows?! The Adventure Awaits.


  • http://twitter.com/ThreadBusiness Thread Business

    Sweeet article. 

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Nice post, by the way you’ve got a h3 tag hanging around on the Miles To Go paragraph.

  • http://www.iamthetrend.com iamthetrend

    thanks and thanks andy!

  • http://www.backbonethreads.com BackboneThreads

    I’ve been wondering where a few of these came from…hmmm, now I want to know more back stories!

  • http://www.iamthetrend.com iamthetrend

    Glad you dug it! Im sure there will be a part 2. If there are any brands you would like me to include let me know!

  • http://www.twoeightnine.com/ twoeightnine

    Heh, I always wondered about Ugmonk. I figured it was a nickname growing up.

  • zac peters

    Johnsaurus is so fuxking lame, their shirts look like obey shirts uncreative fucks

  • http://www.noskill1343.com/ Kristianus Kurnia

    thanx for this post, I like all about t-shirt,

    this year, I’m thinking to start a small clothing company, and until now, I’m not find awesome name. there’s a thousand maybe a million clothing company in the world, and when I found a name, it has been used.

  • NYFan82

    Avadore sounds like a classy fashion company