A few assumptions come to mind when thinking of engineer students: They love to study, hate to party and they speak in words, which to an untrained ear, can sound like gibberish. But that doesn't seem to be the case with CU engineering student tapped to design the official T-shirts for this weekend's SnowBall Music Festival.
Alex Pasternack, 23, and his business partner CU economics major Sean Hall, 22, wear the party -- literally; they are founders of the T-shirt company Wear The Party. But it's not your typical shirt: The shirts are better referred to as "interactive apparel," and they are specifically tailored to dress electronic music fans. "We have a unique ink that when printed on clothing, allows you to creatively express your energy through light on your clothing," says Hall.
The ink is light reactive and each Wear The Party shirt comes with an LED or laser used to draw on the shirts. "In the dark you can charge the shirt with a laser and the shirt then holds the energy from the charged light," Pasternack says. "You can use the LED or laser to draw whatever you want on the shirt. It stays there for a few minutes in glowing light, then fades away."
The result: A glow-in-the-dark shirt you can draw on with a laser.
The boys developed the first shirt and debuted it at a Pantyraid concert over a year ago. "We were at the Boulder Theater and our whole crew was wearing the shirts," Pasternack recalls. "We started drawing on each other from across the venue and people couldn't believe what they were seeing. We knew it was going to be a hit."
The shirts caught so much attention they decided to create a business out of it, and officially coined the term Wear The Party.
At first, the company was too small to collaborate with large music festivals like Ultra and Snowball, so they were vending the shirts at the festivals from their own booths. But then, Summer Camp Music Festival picked up Wear The Party as the festival's official T-shirt in 2011. And this weekend, the shirts will head to Vail Valley as one of the official shirts for SnowBall Music Festival. Official festival shirts are sold in general stores, rather than booths.
Page down to see the design for Snowball.
Pasternack says the design for the SnowBall shirts have a new addition: "Everyone in Colorado has already seen our original shirts, so now we're excited to show all of Snowball what they've never seen before."
In addition to the lasers, they've added a light-changing component. "The design in the shade is going to be different then the design in the sun," he says. In the dark, the SnowBall shirts will feature trees with snow on them, and in the sun the trees will look bare. "It'll be like the snow melted off them."
Pasternack graduates in May, and Hall, next Spring. They plan to continue Wear The Party after graduation, but until then, they recognize the limitations of the school and work balancing act. "If we can't make it to a Bassnectar show in New York City, because we're CU students," he explains, "we realize it's not practical to go full time with Wear The Party just yet."
Despite the limitations of a heavy homework load, the shirt company continues to evolve. "Kids kept coming up to us and saying, 'If you're at all these parties, what are you doing tonight? Tomorrow night? Wear is the party?'" Pasternack says. The pair are in the process of launching a beta form of Wear The Party to reward partiers for promoting the events they attend, by "exploiting the power of the Facebook status."
Users receive a number of "party points" for "checking out" on a web application at local bars and venues. As the points add up, they can use them to purchase drinks and Wear The Party shirts.
"Every bar has a Jo Shmo promoter to bring people into the bars," Pasternack notes, "and we're trying to put a 2012 twist on it by allowing the users to be promoters via Facebook and Twitter. Take the $400 you'd give to the Jo Shmo promoter and put it towards $400 in Bud Light drafts, distribute them for free and further encourage these people to attend the events."
Wear The Party beta is still a work in progress, Pasternack reveals, and currently has almost 2000 users. "Via the success of the T-shirt company and the connections we've made through it, that's the only reason we're in a position to even try to launch something like this," he concludes. "Worst case scenario, we promote our local venues, and hook up some party people with free stuff. Best case: It really takes off. Either way, we're happy to be in a position to launch new ventures and do what we love."
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