Made in Houston
William Ntim has a standout style. Sporting a Chicago Blackhawks cap, dark shades, slim cut jeans and a signifying Square Neck T-shirt, he stood out at the Midtown Starbucks, where we met for an inteview. Vowing his distinctive Tee is the next big thing, Ntim talked about starting his clothing company, campaigning on Kickstarter and launching a magazine for young entrepreneurs.
Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Ntim says his interest in fashion and business came at an early age. "I would buy poster colors and draw them (T-shirts)," he said. He remembers designing and selling his T-shirts to classmates. His mom being a big help in the process. "I would screen print them and she would take the shirt and hang it after I’m done, That moment, I still remember vividly. You could come into our house and just see T-shirts. It was just neat."
"For a male, the Square-Neck T-shirt brings out your muscles and your form, your body and when you’re a female, it has a little curve to it."
Fast forward to 2013: Ntim , 22, lives in Tomball with his family as a permanent resident. While finishing up his degree in 3-D Animation at Lone Star College, he started his brand and company Certified Dress Code LLC.
"I’m big on social media. That’s how I got into local fashion shows. I met people online, they like the T-shirts and then they connect me with other people.You know, just pushing for the dream," he said.
The idea of a T-shirt with a square neck is different, but Ntim believes it has the basis for broad appeal. Why square?
"It took about a year just thinking, brainstorming trying to come up with something unique," Ntim said. "I drew it out, it looked pretty good. I had the first sample made; I liked it. For a male, it brings out your muscles and your form, your body and when you’re a female, it has a little curve to it."
CDC launched its first run of designs last year. The T-shirts sell for $25 each and are available on his website. For the second run, Ntim has looked to Kickstarter to raise funds. With four days to go, he has a long way to go, raising only $266 of a $9,500 goal.
Even if he doesn't raise the Kickstarter funds, "It’s not going to end the square neck dream. I’m still going to find other options." Ntim said.
Ntim also is the force behind a publication, Young Houston Magazine, aimed at young entrepreneurs.
"The motive is to encourage other young people in Houston. We feel like there is a big chunk of youth that is not really motivated or don’t really have the right friends. Fashion, photography, modeling, art, we have painters…It’s crazy, man! It’s just so inspiring."