Syracuse U. Student Expresses Identity Through Personal Fashion Line

This story was written by Jada Wong, Daily Orange
Jake Couri wanted to spread a message, so he used his fashion to let it out.

Couri, a Syracuse University sophomore, introduced his line of unisex v-neck T-shirts and hoodies on his Web site,, this summer. Some contained political messages in time for the election.

"Where do you stand?" is one quote printed on one of the company's shirts. So far, this is the strongest political statement Couri has produced.

Couri uses designer Marc Jacobs' new line of politically charged apparel with the words "Time for a Change" in support of Barack Obama.

"It's about where you stand on the issues at hand for the election," Couri said. "I would like to tap into more political design ideas in the future, but I think this was a good start."

Couri, with his mother and business partner, Jeri Glatter, launched his self-titled line "Jake Couri" this summer. The line features several quotes screen-printed onto plain, unisex American Apparel T-shirts and hoodies that range from $32 to $60.

"I've always appreciated all aspects of design, whether it be fashion, jewelry or architecture," he said. "I wanted to start a clothing company or jewelry company, so I decided that I should get a three year head start. When I graduate school, I'm at the point where I can just launch off."

Couri said American Apparel was the best on the market for what he wanted to do. He said now that it's more popular, it's beneficial for the fashion line.

Erik Hicks, a manager at J. Michael Shoes on Marshall Street, buys American Apparel T-shirts and hoodies for the store.

"I love the look and feel of it," Hicks said. "You just need a reasonably priced T-shirt to throw on. It's evolving into a fashion thing."

Couri and Glatter order plain T-shirts and hoodies wholesale and take their designs to a local screen printer that prints their designs onto the clothes.

The text on his T-shirts and hoodies are more than just graphically appealing to him; his pieces have double meanings that portray different ideas.

"The design process incorporates a lot of trial and error," Couri said. "We come up with an idea or statement and incorporate that with other text or artwork."

Couri donated his pieces to this year's Fashion Showoff, a fashion show held at Lyman Hall during Family Weekend.

The fashion show was produced by the Fashion Association of Design Students, which allows students in the fashion design program to be more involved in the industry.

Timothy Westbrook, sophomore fashion design major, was the co-chair of this year's show.

"With Jake, there's such a deep expression about his stuff, it's more than just a piece of clothing and a cool logo," Westbrook said. "I think there's a deep underlying story in there, and that's what I think is really interesting abut his line."

Westbrook and the parents who attended the fashion show were impressed with Couri's line.

"I think Jake's line allowed us to bring it to another level of professionalism," Westbrook said. "When you have lines that are already on the way, it helps us look more established. Jake presented high-level finished garments that you'd see in a clothing store."

Couri will put out a second line in February, which he says will be different than his current T-shirts and will include more than just v-neck designs.

"We're not just putting out clothing that look good," Couri said. "We're trying to have the consumer understand what they're wearing and why they're wearing it, because they're promoting a statement or idea."