YOUTH VISION presents a platform to display the young generation’s views on clothing

Alice Lee

As junior Jaden Gong’s second semester of sophomore year at Sunny Hills High School rolled in, his parents struck a deal with him that if he achieves a GPA higher than 4.0, they will financially support his launch of a clothing brand. 

“I thought [the deal] was reasonable because I felt that [my parents] would always support me and I had a lot of saved money too,” Gong said.

After persevering through his sophomore year, Gong earned a GPA higher than 4.0.

“The 4.0 was really hard but I stayed motivated and inspired to do my best always so I could start the business,” Gong said.  “The COVID-19 [made it] really hard to maintain my grades since it was such a big change, but I pulled through luckily.”

 Dreaming of creating a clothing line since middle school, Gong never had an opportunity to start and run a brand because of financial reasons, such as a lack of funding. 

“My parents are always extremely supportive and want me to explore and try new things, [so] they definitely supported it when I talked to them about [the business],” Gong said. “But 70% of the first drop cost was from my savings, and the money [from the deal] was saved for the next drop.”

Then, COVID-19 struck, giving him another reason to do his best to contribute to his community by donating 20% of all proceeds to selected coronavirus-relief charities. 

“I believed that I could pull it off because I really had a drive to create this brand,” Gong said. “But, I definitely had a lot of reality checks and noticed that it was way harder than I [imagined].”

Gong decided to create the brand, YOUTH VISION, because he wanted to spread his visions of designs and express them through fashion in a way that represents the youth.

“I wanted YOUTH VISION to be a voice for the youth and a brand that everyone shares and represents — not just [me],” Gong said.

Gong began to develop the logo around freshman year, which was chosen from his numerous drafts that were the letter “Y” and “V” arranged in different ways.

“[One] challenge I faced was going through so many of my [logo] designs and having to throw away most of them.” Gong said. “I think I have designed over 100 designs but only kept 10.”

Although he had established his brand name and logo, Gong realized the daunting task to produce clothing pieces and create a website.

“The name originated from my perspective of the youth of our generation, whose opinions are overshadowed and looked down on,” Gong said. “Hence, I wanted to put up a platform to represent the youth’s opinions.” 

Unfortunately, Gong hasn’t faced the trickiest part of the launch yet, which was the graphic designing of the website. 

Gong took a couple of weeks  to digitally design the items with the help of junior Juliet Lee, and took a month to produce.

The two started working together about six months ago when quarantine hit. 

“I am really proud of Jaden and the outcome exceeded my expectations,” Lee said. “ I’m looking forward to [seeing] what his band will grow into and other projects he has planned.

Unlike the other brands created by high school students at SHHS, Gong created a promotion video about his clothing line. Gong’s peers who attend Orange County School of the Arts, juniors Justin Shin and Daniel Jikal, helped film his video, along with junior Joseph Lee who created a track for the background. 

The idea to create a promotion video came naturally to Gong mind, since he met Jikal and Shin during elementary, who always showed interest in cameras. 

“I feel like since I have Justin and Jikal, who are interested in film, the thought to create one came naturally,” Gong said. “Bigger clothing brands, who just have photos, but when seen in person, it looks different, so I wanted to have a video with the youth walking around to give the customers a better perspective of the clothing.”

Shin accepted Gong’s offer to work together without any delay.
“When Jaden hit me up to make the video, I hopped right on it with no hesitation,” Shin said. “[Gong’s] brand is really dope too, so I was excited to make a video because [Gong] gets to grow his brand and I get to grow my skills.”

Shin’s greatest inspiration was the track that Lee sent. Listening to the song on repeat, Shin tried to obtain a gist of the vibe. 

Lee also hopped aboard the promo video project with no hesitation.

“I agreed immediately because I wanted to help him out with the business and because I knew this was also an opportunity for me to get my music out as well,” Lee said.

Taking two days to create and suit the chic vibes of Gong’s vision, Lee quickly put together the soundtrack. Shin also promptly made the promo video, which included planning, scouting locations, contacting models, filming and editing the clips. 

The final product was posted on @youthvision.clothing on Instagram and their Youtube along with season one’s clothing, which included three different colors of t-shirts ($23), masks ($10) and a package version where a shirt and a mask is bundled together for $30. 

“I felt really proud and thankful when the promo video [along with the clothing] was released,” Gong said. “I also felt nervous about if people would even be interested in the clothes and what I did.” 

As a follow up on the release, Gong uploaded another video, a documentary titled YOUTH VISION BEHIND THE SCENES, illustrating the process of the launch on October 23. In the one minute 24 seconds video, clips of the manufacturing, modeling, photography were shown. 

 

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In less than a month, Gong has managed to sell about 70 to 80 shirts, making a total profit of nearly $2,600, which will all go toward a coronavirus charity and the next drop.   

“I feel very happy about the amount that my business sold after its first release; however, it makes me want to do better and improve the clothing more in future drops,” Gong said. 

Gong is currently planning to do a more versatile drop for season two, which will likely contain hoodies, T-shirts, pants and hats. 

Despite having all the designs ready for season two’s clothing, Gong does not want to release it yet since he wants to make donations first.

As his parents predicted, Gong achieved his dream of creating and becoming a successful business owner. 

I was extremely proud that Jaden could even think about an idea like that and I would always 100% support him with [what] he wanted to do or [to follow] his dreams,” Jay Nakada Kim, Gong’s mom, said. “So, of course I wanted to help out and was glad that Jaden was trying to make a change and start a business.”

As a result of the success, Gong is preparing for the drop of season two of YOUTH VISION around early November, which can be found on https://www.shopyouthvision.com.