Paper Toy Clothing is more than just a t-shirt brand. What started as a passion to draw and desire to give toys to less fortunate kids, turned into a business. Paper Toy Clothing is brand that believes in a Wear & Give philosophy. A portion of the proceeds have gone to Kids’ Meals of Houston. Santana Draper, a talented 12 year old boy is the artist behind the t-shirt designs. Through his journey and the growing success of Paper Toy Clothing, Santana hopes to inspire boys and young men.
We got a chance to catch up with the young brand owner to discuss the past, present and future of Paper Toy.
TM: When did you begin Paper Toy Clothing and what motivated you to start the brand?
Around 4 years old, I begin teaching myself to draw from an Anime DVD cover which morphed into creating action figures, calling those action figures my “Paper Toy”. Several “Big ideas” motivated me to begin the paper toy brand, but mainly I wanted to create to give back to others in need, knowing people are less fortunate and seeing them go without made me want to contribute to their individual cause. Fast forward several years later, I formed my company, Paper Toy LLC stylized as paper toy by Santana Draper, debuting my first series in the latter part of 2012/2013. Shortly after I made my first donation to a children’s charity.
TM: What is the mission of Paper Toy Clothing?
Paper Toy’s mission is to inspire you to greatness. Showing kids you can do anything you want and don’t allow anyone to tell you what you can’t do.
TM: Where do you tend to look for inspiration when designing your tees?
I tend to be inspired by music, my life experiences, my imagination and world events.
TM: You have a “1Color, 1Design, 1Shirt, 1Boy” approach you go by. Tell me a little about this design process.
My vision is to give my fans artwork created just for them on an individual level. This is why I create a limited edition series and within that series are several sketches produced in limited numbers. Once the series sells out I retire it and begin another series. I take pride when creating every Paper Toy t-shirt, in a lovable creative fashion and no one t-shirt is just alike. Each t-shirt is a work art.
TM: How does it feel to design for and give back to a cause much greater than you?
It feels real good. Service to others gives me great pride.
TM: Even though you juggle business, school work and friends, what are some of the highlights of being a young designer and entrepreneur?
Creating something from an idea and watching the consumers embrace my brand, traveling and meeting all the great people from each city I travel too.
TM: What are the most valuable lessons you have learned during the years of working on your brand?
There are so many different lessons but the most valuable one thus far would have to be prepare, plan and persevere.
TM: Do you plan on attending any of the top art high schools or universities in the future? If so, which ones?
Yes I plan to attend college and focus on science and technology, as wells the arts. I have a trip to France planned for summer 2015, and am open to going to school abroad, but right now I have not made up mind.
TM: When you’re not working, what do you love to do?
Painting, reading and playing video games. I really like playing architect games it gives me a similar feeling when am designing my Paper Toy line.
TM: It is inspiring to hear stories about young people in our community making positive changes in the world. Do you have any upcoming events or collection release dates you would like to inform our readers about?
Yes, I have series 3 coming soon.
We will definitely be looking out for the upcoming series. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your future endeavors!
Check out the series 1 lookbook behind the scenes video.
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Visit www.papertoyclothing.com to buy the latest tees.