Before we were all stuck at home, you may have seen several UCLA students walking around campus in forest green, embroidered, crewneck sweatshirts. These popular numbers were the new UCLA Radio merch that became a big hit with not only radio members but friends of members, and all UCLA students. I interviewed a good friend and creator of the merchandise, Gavin Aleshire, to ask him about his creative process, what radio-style meant to him and the club as a whole, and how that influenced the design process.
When Gavin first started working on the merch, he had a desire to create something representative of Radio and who they are as a group. He was initially inspired by SZA’s ctrl merch, noting its uniqueness and how it wasn’t just merch, but something people actually wanted to wear. He was given a lot of creative freedom with the design so a lot of decisions were made out of personal preference, such as using a classic font, and the forest green base as seen in the photos. Aside from personal preference though, the desire to represent the vibrancy and creativity that UCLARadio embodies was prominent in the design process and the motivation to create the merch at all. For instance, Gavin explains that Radio has always used their box logo, which is “classic and cool,” but the group was getting to a point where they felt it didn’t represent Radio style as much as it could.
So what is this style that he wanted to represent? Gavin explained that it can best be described as “eclectic and vibrant.” Radio is a group that encourages creativity and individuality in style and fashion, and he explains that “it’s homogenous in the way that it’s a group of people who are very clearly expressing themselves.” If you didn’t know, UCLA Radio even has an account to feature the variety of styles worn by UCLA Radio members. He even said that his own style has changed drastically since joining radio, as he feels inspired to take risks and wear whatever it is he wants to wear, because everyone around him is doing so too. The Radio motto, “everybody loves everybody” is another element of the group that works to encourage this type of individuality and self expression.
The rainbow “uclaradio” as read across the front of the sweatshirt, was decided on as the perfect way to reflect the group’s vibrancy, and it turned out to be a huge success. All 85 sweatshirts that were ordered sold in 2 days, and he had people from all over asking how they could get one, including friends from other schools. He then made another order, but with the same rainbow logo placed on a lavender hoodie, explaining that he wanted to make several more designs to uphold the roots of radio style where people wear what they like best, and chose what style best represents them as an individual. He hopes for the new designs to also appeal to all UCLA students, as something people simply want to wear, just like SZA’s ctrl merch.
Although the design and production process has been put on pause, make sure to keep an eye out for the next drop as I’m sure they will sell fast. You can also take a look at some of the fits courtesy of @uclaradiofits on Instagram. UCLA radio isn’t just about music, but a whole culture that encompasses music, style, and community.