Choke Shirt Co.

May 1, 2009

By Moustapha Camara

I interview Matt, co-creator of the clothing line Choke Shirt Co.

MC: So, what’s with the name Choke Clothing?

CS: One of the most frustrating things for us was trying to come up with a name for the company. There came a point when we had the original designs ready to go and we were ready to get started, but we didn’t have a name. Needless to say during those days of conversations there were some insults that were tossed between us and the one that stuck was Choke. We liked (and still like it) but it’s definitely a little edgier than our shirts.

MC: It seems like all of your t-shirt designs are simple. Why did you choose to go with this approach?

CS: It’s not necessarily an approach that we decided to go with, our designs come from things that we are inspired by, things that interest us. It’s amazing how some simple line work drawings or a silhouette can turn into a bold design.

MC: Out of all of the tees you sell, which ones prove to be a fan favorite?

CS: Right now, our most popular tee is the Seattle tee. It’s a lot more unique then a normal city touristy shirt. But it was designed for both Seattle tourist and the Seattle local in mind. We’re hoping to do more city shirts in the future, based on cities that we have traveled to and love! Our Poppy hoodie is also a favorite. We can’t seem to keep them in stock and we just introduced a great new color for spring, Mermaid Green.

MC: I see you started BabyChoke now. Why did you decide to expand your line into the baby market?

CS: We decided to launch babyCHOKE because we had a lot of requests from our customers. They wanted to be able to get a shirt for themselves, and something for their new addition, or someone they knew. A few of our designs translated really well over to the babyCHOKE line, and we threw in a new design. Right now we are working hard to keep the first 3 designs in stock, eventually we will be adding new designs and expanding the line. We’re also working with some baby clothing retailers in Seattle to get some of our items in their stores.

MC: It seems that you have a few events that you’ll be appearing at in 2009. Which event are you looking forward to the most?

CS: We will be all over the Pacific Northwest! I think we are most excited to be participating in the Fremont Fair. Fremont is a great neighborhood in Seattle, people that live there call it “The Center of the Universe” and it’s actually where Choke got it’s start. Fremont Fair is the same time as the well known Fremont Solstice Parade, if you have never been, you should definitely make a trip…or at least Google it, you may see a naked biker or two… or 20.

MC: In T-Mag #56, we just did an article called ‘National Scene: Seattle’, featuring Choke as one of the Seattle brands. How is it living in Seattle? What’s the best part of living there?

CS: We love Seattle. For us it’s the weather and the scenery. It’s not a lie; it does rain a lot here in Seattle, but it makes you appreciate the sunny days even more. And when you find a clear shot of Mt. Rainier threw the city skyscrapers, you can’t imagine living anywhere else.

MC: What tips can you give to aspiring t-shirt entrepreneurs?

CS: Don’t wait to do it! It’s a lot of work, but it’s really fun. And every time you spot someone walking down the street wearing one of your shirts, it makes all the hard work worth while.