Vann-Ellison Seales, co-founder of 13 Bricks Clothing, stood behind the company's table at the Savannah Bazaar, flanked by his friends and co-workers, a deadline on his mind.
With an Oct. 30 end to the company's Indigogo campaign, an online fundraising platform, Seales, 22, is hoping it'll reach the goal of $15,000.
"Really, if we reach a third or half of that goal, we're still going to be further along than when we started," Seales said, dressed in a blue cotton sports jacket and two-toned Oxfords.
For the uninitiated, 13 Bricks Clothing has been around for more than a year. As an apparel company built on the ethos that local fine art can be brought to the mainstream through streetwear, its clothing is designed by local artists and sold at stores around town such as Elev8ted and Red Light Tobacco.
"The vision of the company is really making fine art accessible to everyone," he said.
In recent months, the team began gaining more support from bars that sold its apparel, and a larger following on social media that prompted the launch of its first funding round.
The apparel is an aesthetic conundrum, a mix between graphic T-shirts and fine art, printed by Celebritees and costing $20-$22. Through this confluence of fine and contemporary art, the 13 Bricks team and its products are gaining recognition by a generation culturally muted by big brand-name stores peddling millennial-driven merchandise.
"I think, personally, culturally speaking, we don't put emphasis on art," said Seales, a SCAD alumni with a degree in sound design. "We don't put emphasis on growing it, on people meeting up to celebrate it. And I think, in a lot of ways, that aspect has been taken over by Urban Outfitters or this and that."
Built on a core staff of five, all whom have day jobs, 13 Bricks is working to generate an art scene that is beginning to show fledgling roots in Savannah: for example, the bazaar.
"We want to be at events like this because this is what we stand for," said Jared Jackson, 22, director of marketing for 13 Bricks. "It's showing these people that there are a lot of people in this community doing things like this, and it needs to have a voice."
Through supporting local artists and building a brand identity solely aligned with that artisanal community in mind, the fundraiser will help the brand expand into a studio space, produce seasonal apparel lines and provide support for events such as the bazaar.
"This event, being able to happen right now, is showing that our community is raising its awareness because there are a lot of people who are really in tune with their art," Jackson, a student in architecture at Savannah Tech, said of the bazaar.
"But to have this venue, this medium, is sort of what we want to do with our company. We want to take these artists and give them a platform to showcase what they can really do."
Watercolor artist Alfredo Martinez, 22, recently graduated from SCAD with a degree in illustration and has begun contributing work to 13 Bricks. Like many art school graduates, Martinez has felt his creativity was stifled over the last four years, working for a degree rather than himself.
"I got into this idea of really trying to break out of the daily grind," Martinez said. "And I feel like there's a lot of unnecessary stress we deal with, which is what I'm trying to address with my fine art."
The idea for such a company spawned from the friendship that sprang between Jackson and Seales at age 10. A clear divide between the SCAD art community and the local art scene was apparent to both. That founding principal continues to ground the team today.
"We realize that everyone needs to be a part of this. Everyone needs to accept themselves as a creator. I think that we're all born artists," Seales said. "Artists don't necessarily have the capital and resources to promote themselves and put themselves out there like they'd like to and then, at the same time, other people are too busy in the twirl and grind of everyday life to go out to a gallery. So this is our way of integrating it and bringing it to the streets."