In 2015, Ball State students Nate Robert-eze and Joshua Sims started a clothing brand. With just one t-shirt design, “a simple white T-shirt with their custom black logo in the left corner,” and iron-on transfers, they sold primarily to friends and family. After the students had the opportunity to set up a booth during a 2 Chainz concert at Ball State, the brand’s success increased. People began asking for more merchandise, which led to a second design and the brand continued to grow.
To this day, 2eze Clothing Company focuses on simplicity, humility and faith which evolves into unity. Sims says, “spirituality is a central part of [their] designs,” with emphasis on God and faith. The team draws design inspiration from current fashion trends and real life experiences, typically incorporating a “faith-based spin.” One t-shirt design in particular says, “Pray.” Sims says, “That design was basically a depiction of the moment where things in your life are spiraling out of control and you don’t know what else to do but to talk to God.”
How does the process work?
The team begins the design process brainstorming ideas, considering different possibilities and constraints. Usually at least three ideas are presented to vote on, then turned into a concept. Next, distributors send fabrics and prints for color and material testing. Finally, the team reviews financials and creates a marketing plan. This way they can be sure the product transitions to the customers without issues.
Like any other company, 2eze has faced and overcome challenges. Staying true to the values important to the brand was one of these struggles. “We were anxious at first to uphold the religious aspect of our clothing because we are trying to reach a wide audience,” Sims says.
Identifying with 2eze’s vision, brand ambassador Jalen Jones’ experience with 2eze has been surreal. “From modeling brand pieces, to becoming a brand representative, I have been able to fully engage on both sides of the spectrum. After joining this team, I quickly noticed their philanthropic approach. I’ve seen the growth from designing and creating product for customers into truly promoting our vision.”
Now as a Ball State alumni three years later, Robert-eze and Sims have seen the company grow immensely. With hopes to expand internationally, they want to keep the brand based in Indy. “We know that we are able to connect to people here who love fashion and live close enough where they can get to our apparel,” Sims says.
What’s next for 2eze?
Over the next year, they plan to expand within the college market by appointing brand ambassadors at different schools. Another goal of 2eze is to provide employment opportunities for community members in need. “One of our short term goals is to start giving back to our local communities more through charitable events, philanthropic work, and scholarships and apprenticeships. We feel like that is our way of promoting unity which is our passion,” Sims declared.