Personal Identity |

Personal Identity

Nic Corbett
Jake Blair is heading to sunny Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Not many can say they started a business before they graduated from high school. Jake Blair can.

Blair, a senior at Vail Christian High School, created an apparel company called idENTITY last summer. His designs emphasize individuality, something he sees lacking in some of his peers.

“God created each and everyone of us exactly the way we’re supposed to be,” said Blair, who considers spirituality and being a Christian a big part of his life. “No one’s perfect and that’s OK. Why not be happy with who you are instead of changing yourself?”

The 18-year-old said he has a really big problem with pop culture.

“I think it’s shallow,” he said. “I think it (affects) an entire generation that expects to be fulfilled by things that don’t necessarily last ” the money, being good-looking.”

Blair has sold about 70 shirts featuring his designs. He said he has too many designs to count. Recently, he has begun working with local rock band The Ride.

He draws inspiration from other independent apparel companies, such as Ephraim Clothing and Apolis, both based in California. Both either partner with or give money to non-profit groups.

Although it’s difficult to work during the school year, Blair said he has been picking up momentum with his fledgling business by starting to look for a Web designer to help him create a Web site.

He expressed regret that he might have to take a break in about two and a half months when he starts at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. He thought about majoring in entrepreneurial business, but is now leaning toward marketing or communications.

For his apparel business, Blair has also been looking for a graphic designer to help him put his ideas into reality.

“My creative process isn’t that great,” he said. “I do all right, but I’m really limited in what I want to do.”

Currently, his process includes sketching out a design and then creating the design on his computer using Adobe Illustrator. Blair has a wholesale license from American Apparel and recently got another one with a military surplus supplier. They provide the shirts he prints his designs upon. He uses High Country Shirtworks to print the designs, but he hopes to buy his own printing press soon.

“I’m trying to get to the point where I can produce my own stuff instead of getting a company to do it,” he said.

Vail, Colorado

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