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15 Minutes of Fame / In design, Staples student has found the perfect fit

Published 1:06 pm, Saturday, January 5, 2013
  • Staples High School senior Adam Rosenthal has designed a line of clothing --- United Threads. After graduation, he plans to study fashion-design management.Westport CT. December 2012. Photo: Contributed Photo / Westport News contributed
    Staples High School senior Adam Rosenthal has designed a line of clothing --- United Threads. After graduation, he plans to study fashion-design management.Westport CT. December 2012. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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About the series "15 minutes of Fame" is a periodic series prepared by Staples High School to highlight one student's out-of-school activity that few people realize. Some students profiled are following dreams that leave little time for traditional sports, arts or other pursuits through which others gain recognition. The artist Andy Warhol once predicted that everyone would enjoy 15 minutes of fame at some point in their lives. Staples officials say their goal is to provide those 15 minutes for some students during their high school years in hopes it will lead to greater recognition later in life.
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Adam Rosenthal entered Staples High School figuring he'd be a cross-country and lacrosse athlete. In fact, he thought, those sports would help him get into college.

As a freshman, he finished second in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference freshman cross-country race. He was 17th in the state.

But that spring, he blew out his knee playing lacrosse. His sports career was over.

Fortunately, as a freshman he'd been placed in a Beginning Design and Technology class. It was an introduction to graphic design. Adam had no interest in the subject -- at first. But the more he learned about it, the more he realized he excelled. He zoomed through his assignments, and dove into independent projects.

"I'm really interested in how things are made," said Adam, now a senior. "Like a Chanel ad -- I wanted to know how it was created. And I wanted to learn how to do it myself."

Digital tools, he said, "can help us create a new world. Our ability to tell stories digitally is limitless."

Adam embraced his new passion. He created a Digital Arts and Media Club at Staples so students could use their talents in photography, graphic design, videography and fashion to build portfolios for college applications. "Everyone helps everyone else look better," he said of club members' collaborative work.

Adam included fashion in his club's mission because "I've always loved clothes. More than any guy or girl I know, I have the most extensive closet. If you look good, people take you more seriously."

After his knee injury, Adam realized that fashion was an area he could pursue. Beginning with his Advanced Design Technology class sophomore year, he started his own clothing line.

His first project was a long-sleeved baseball shirt with black arms. It included a logo for the brand he created: United Threads.

When he saw his design printed out, he knew he was on to something big.

Adam begins by taking photos or drawing ideas. He scans them into Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, stretching the designs without losing features. His style, he said, draws from fashion magazines and graphics.

Adam has designed an entire line of clothing: T-shirts, sweatshirts, ties, button-down shirts, pants and blazers. All are printed with design screens. He's now learning how to sew, so he can translate the designs into reality.

But he's not doing it all himself. "I pride myself on coming up with an idea, and carrying it out," he explained. "I can make the product, or find someone who can."

Adam's goal is to create a company. He hopes to hire designers who can carry out his many ideas. His website is nearly ready, and he's in negotiations with two stores to carry his line.

Last year, as a junior, Adam was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles. He'll enroll next July as an apparel industry management major. "That's the CEO track," he said.

His friends and family have been supportive. "They represent my clothing as much as possible," Adam said, proudly.

His graphic design teacher, Carla Eichler, has also been helpful. Adam also cited Jonathan Nast, an art teacher who has helped with his Digital Arts and Media Club.

Meanwhile, he continues to build United Threads. Ten or 20 years from now, Adam would like United Threads to be a company that crosses a variety of media. He hopes a wide range of consumers can find something in his line that works for them.

"When I walk down the road, I want to see people wearing my clothes," Adam said. "I want to create not only a brand, but a community. I want to bring together all different types of people, so they feel they have something in common."

He's already got a name for that community: "Thread Heads."