Fashion idea reaches startup status

Four months ago, SPS senior Arben Durollari pitched an idea for his senior project that combined all of his passions: fashion, videography and media studies. Today, the senior project is now a fashion start-up company named BÖND.

Inspired to pursue something he had never done before, Durollari started BÖND to be proactive in a field for which he had passion but little experience.

“I’ve always had this thing tailored toward fashion, so I thought, ‘Hey, if I am going to do an independent study, I might as well try and do something with fashion,’” Durollari said. “All I had to do was create a regular T-shirt, but I didn’t want to do that.”

Durollari decided he not only wanted to design a T-shirt — with fabrics completely sourced in the United States and fairly made in New York — but he would also market it through media such as Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter, making all of the marketing free. With an interest in media studies, he incorporated a documentary aspect to the project by filming the entire process.

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Durollari first assembled a strong team, consisting of his brother Kuj Durollari and his friends Dionis Ahmetaj and Joe Pollicino.

Durollari said creating the team was crucial to the growth of the business.

“I have a driving passion for this … and it’s just this idea of thinking toward the future,” he said. “While we only produce 100 T-shirts now, if I get an order in the future for 10,000 T-shirts I will have a team with me ready to roll.”

Durollari said he and his team  have the same mentality regarding BÖND. It is not just a project. It is a passion and something they really want to see through and succeed.

“BÖND is a vision of the past updated for our future,” Durollari said.

Success does not come easy, however. Throughout the past four months, Durollari has had multiple people tell him he is crazy, that he should do things differently or that his idea would not work. And there were days, he said, that he wanted to give up and simply take the easy route. But his firm belief in what he was doing and what this company would stand for kept him going — and continues to keep him going.

The ’60s-inspired T-shirt is called the Thirst shirt, depicting a woman drinking water. This was no coincidence.

“I wanted everything to connect,” Durollari said. “The shirt represents materialism, consumerism and the thirst for a quality product — all aspects of media theory that I’ve studied.”

Furthermore, the fit is androgynous, so everyone can wear it, defying the stereotype the media often imposes on men and women to wear certain things or look a certain way. BÖND has already sold almost all the Thirst shirts.

Durollari continues to look to the future of his undertaking with a mind wide open to possibility.

“Over the last four months, I made the connections and established a loyal customer base. I will continue to make one piece at a time and continue to test the waters,” Durollari said. “I’m not afraid, I’m not restricted. I can create anything I want, and it’s amazing.”

A version of this article appeared in the Oct. 22, 2014 print edition. Email Gabriella Bower at [email protected]

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