CdM High students start popular clothing line

Corona del Mar High School juniors Andrew Boukather and Cole Friedman used to shop at Jack's Surfboards in Corona del Mar Plaza.

But this summer, the friends and business partners are selling a line of shirts from their newly launched Spruce Clothing company at their favorite local shop.

"Last year, we were dreaming about doing this," Andrew said. "It's really sweet. It's so cool."

Andrew of Big Canyon and Cole of Balboa Island have been friends since pre-kindergarten and first talked about creating a surf/skate clothing line last year.

Both are interested in art, from Southern California street art to 1950s poster art.

Cole had designed and produced a clothing line when he was in fourth grade — although he didn't follow through after his initial production, he said.

"If you want to do it, let's do it legit," Andrew said that Cole told him last summer.

Cole, a graphic artist who has won design awards and had two summer internships at surf/skate labels, began working on designs. Andrew took over the business side of things, including launching a website and social media campaign.

They selected four designs and fabric, and found a manufacturer in Irvine to produce a line of T-shirts this spring. Then they gave a few shirts to friends.

Spruce Clothing was officially launched.

"Someone would see the shirt and ask where to get it, and I'd sell them one," Cole said.

One person who ended up with a shirt happened to work at Jack's.

"She wore it to work, and someone said, 'It's a really cool shirt. Where did you get that?'" Cole said. Eventually, a manager called and asked for a meeting.

"I texted and called [Andrew] about 1,000 times," he said. "Our end goal was just to get into Jack's. We can't believe we're already in there. It's a sick place to shop. That's like the only place to shop."

The shirts are $20 apiece and are black, gray, white and blue with stylized logos and artwork. Employees said the shirts were selling well.

The team already is working on new designs, and eventually hope to sell sweatshirts, hats and beanies.

Andrew and Cole say they spend an hour or two a day on Spruce Clothing, so it doesn't interfere with schoolwork.

"We're so happy we did this," Andrew said. "It's so much fun. We're so into it."

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