Interview with Danny Rizk, founder of "Crater"

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In the melting pot of creativity and ideas that is college, the campus teems with entrepreneurship.

Take Danny Rizk for instance. A LS&A sophomore studying neuroscience, Rizk is not someone one may associate as the face behind cool graphic tees. He regularly sports his own make and design; his brand is called "Crater".

"Leave your mark" is Crater's slogan, the clothing of which consists of T-shirts printed with a variety of geometric patterns of Rizk’s own designs and compilations (see above). Yet, t-shirts are just the beginning of Rizk's plans for a multi-faceted spring clothing line. This past Friday, SHEI met up with Rizk to chat about Crater, future plans, and short-sleeved button downs.

So tell us about how you came up with this idea.

So if you go way back, it started junior year of high school. I was taking a graphic design class, and I already knew the programs, and [my teacher] asked if I wanted to screen print T-shirts. So I just started screen-printing shirts back then, and got into that. Then one day I saw the patterns on the inside of an envelope and realized there are some sweet patterns out there, and it would be cool if I could make a short sleeved button-down with some of them on it – that’s the ultimate goal. Right now I have all the patterns I want, some of them I’ve found and some of them I’ve made, so ultimately I want to get them on a short-sleeved button down. I’m going to email Motivation and hopefully get some guidance on how to get that accomplished. Right now I just have T-shirts with these patterns.

Have you always been into graphic design or was it the class that spurred the interest?

I was kind of into design. I guess I learned the programs by messing around with them – like Adobe Illustrater and Photoshop – and then my dad sent me to a camp to make me learn it and make use of my time [laughs]. I used to submit shirts to, but they’re a very clique-y website and the same people always get their shirts picked, so I stopped that.

Have you sold any shirts yet?

It’s more in the start-up phase. I have several shirts printed and I have people that want to buy them, I’m just waiting until I have a larger quantity – that way it’s cheaper for the manufacturing.

Can you explain the process of printing a shirt?

Ok so for screen-printing you have a silk screen with little squares on it, it’s a very fine grid. Then you take a film of sorts and squeegee it on so there are no air bubbles or anything, and you put it under a high power lamp. But before that you have to have your design printed on a transparency in black, and you put it under the lamp, and whatever is black that part of the screen won’t get burned in, then you put it in a screen printer and you squeegee the ink on it. Then you have to put it in an oven so the ink sets.

Cool, so all the shirts you have so far you’ve made by hand yourself?

About half of them I’ve done myself and half I’ve done at Underground Printing just because it’s a little easier. Screen-printing items costs a lot more, and requires a big space, which I’m lacking, so I think I might go to UGP for that and keep using them for the screen-printing aspect. The manufacturing for the short-sleeved button downs is very difficult in terms of finding a place that will do it. So [finding a manufacturer that will] is the last step before I really get going.

So you obviously are going to need funds.

I’ve thought about a lot of different ways to fund it, I’ve saved money that I’m going to put towards it. Depending on how much I need, I’m considering doing a Kickstarter just because they seem to have some good success on there.

Sounds cool. Do you have any thoughts about a website?

I do have a website, and I have a domain name. Filling in the website right now is kind of slow right now since it’s just me. I’m going about it through SquareSpace. I’m hoping to get it finished this semester. I was originally going to go to Motivation to talk about potentially selling them my line, but I realized what I’d like to introduce is more of a spring line, so I’m going to wait until around February to talk to them. I’m hoping by then I’ll have everything ready.

What do you see in terms of Crater’s future? When you say spring line, what do you envision?

I guess short-sleeved button down, maybe two or three different patterns, a couple T-shirts, and maybe a crew-neck sweater.

You've mentioned the short-sleeved button down a few times - what made you choose that style of shirt?

Over the summer I found that it's the ultimate shirt. It has a lot of functionality and I feel that they're underrated so I want to kind of capitalize on that.

What do you wear it with usually?

I wear a lot of pants - just some jeans or chinos.

Nice. And you said you're envisioning a spring-line; how would you describe your ultimate spring outfit?

I'd go with some dark-wash denim, preferably raw, or green chinos. A short-sleeved button down, naturally, and then depending on the weather maybe a cardigan or something. Shoes - I like these New Balances that I've been wearing lately.

What is your own favorite brand to wear besides Crater?

Oh man, that’s a tough question. I do a lot of my shopping online, I used to like Karma Loop a lot, and I like ASOS. It’s kind of like a hodgepodge; I don’t really have one that I wear all the time. I get all of my hoodies from American Apparel because they just have great quality. But outside of that it’s all over the place.