Jawbreaking’s Aly Silverio Interview

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Most high school graduates that I know don’t know what they want to do with their lives. Heck, most graduate school graduates I know still don’t know what they want to do with their lives. That’s what makes Aly Silverio’s story so amazing. At 19 years old, only a year older than me, she has accomplished so much in the four short years that her clothing company, Jawbreaking, has been alive. From conception to fruition to the final creation of Jawbreaking, the idea that fashion was her future was always there for Aly.

Literally done out of her bedroom, Aly Silverio has created a company out of simply not wanting a job. The funny thing is that she now has a job. One that’s given her the ability to sponsor bands, sponsor stages at Warped Tour, and even inspire customers to start their own companies. The opportunities she is now getting are still embryonic. With someone as goal oriented and driven as Aly Silverio, well we can only guess for what’s ahead for her and Jawbreaking.

Aly took some time out during her run at Warped Tour to speak with us about Jawbreaking. It’s a fascinating and inspiring story. A story of a 19 year old that has done far more than most have done at her age. Despite her lack of an ability to do her nails, even though she has Asian genes, Aly’s creative ability is awe inspiring. Read on for Aly Silverio’s interview.

“I really just want to keep producing shirts that people like and apparel that people like.”

Give me a short history of Jawbreaking:
Aly: I’ll try to squeeze four years into 30 seconds. I started the company when I was 15. I basically didn’t want a job. And so I started making clay jewelry and was like “I’m gonna make a website out of this!” So I started making these polymer clay necklaces and started promoting it on MySpace, Facebook, and when Twitter came out and ever since then I’ve just been pushing it. And then a year and a half ago, I dropped the jewelry and started making shirts and designing shirts was what I really wanted to do but I just didn’t have enough money for it. So I took those profits, put them into shirts, and that’s where I am today and now I’m on Warped Tour. [laughs]

Did you go to school for design?
Aly: No, I’m actually not in school. I just graduated high school last year. I was gonna go to school but I just really wanna concentrate on Jawbreaking so if I need to go back, I’ll go back. It’s always there. Right now I’m not going to school.

Have you taken design classes in high school?
Aly: In high school I took apparel development, fashion merchandising. I took a lot of business classes and that’s how I learned about a lot of it. I’m not saying I know everything but it really, really helped. I learned a lot of what I know now from my high school classes.

How’d you start making shirts?
Aly: Yeah, I still screen print. I just design all of them. We get shirts at American Apparel and all those places and then we’ll custom cut them for more customized shirts.

How do you think of new designs?
Aly: Basically everything that comes out of my life. I’ll be like “Oh this happened so I’ll put this on a shirt.” I don’t know how to describe it. People always ask me and I just say “Life.” Like Band Boys=Trouble is one of our shirts and it’s pretty apparent. I like quotes like “Not all who wander are lost,” we put that on one of our shirts and it’s a top selling one. It’s a lot of things I can relate to. We don’t just put words on a shirt, its words that actually mean something to us. Music, movies also. Anything that I enjoy, I’ll put on a shirt.

Have you always been creative?
Aly: Yeah, I guess I’ve always been on the creative side. I used to love drawing and doodling in school. I used to always doodle in school and got in trouble for it. [laughs]

Are you doing everything out of your house right now?
Aly: It’s literally out of my bedroom.

Oh I thought you got the shirts sent out to a company.
Aly: Oh no, we get all the shirts printed in Texas and we get them shipped to us. We have the bonus room I guess you call it, the biggest room in the house, and I have it split into my bedroom and then my office. Everything is straight out of my bedroom and we just ship it at the regular post office.

It’s a lot more hands on than I thought it’d be.
Aly: It’s very hands on. Me and my mom, that’s it. It’s fun though. I like doing it all myself. I feel like having other people do it, I’d get all OCD and like “No you’re doing it wrong.” [laughs] I like doing it all myself. It’s fun that way.

Do you ever see yourself outsourcing to a different company?
Aly: Yeah, definitely in the future. Just because it’s hard doing it for two people and Jawbreaking’s progressively getting bigger. Especially over this year alone because everything that’s happened. So hopefully in the future we’ll start doing bigger quantities, bulk quantities, and finding other resources to print our stuff and ship it out.

Do your sponsor bands?
Aly: Yeah I sponsor quite a few. To name: Divided by Friday, Set It Off, Phone Calls From Home which are on the tour right now, Megan and Liz. We like to support music because that’s the other half of Jawbreaking. It’s the two things I really love: design and fashion and music. So I try to combine both into my company.

Do you choose who your sponsor yourself?
Aly: Yeah. And sometimes people will approach us and I’ll approach them. I like to support people that are talented and deserve to be put out there.

How does that work?
Aly: I basically send them shirts. It’s nothing formal. I send them a few shirts that they either pick out or I pick out, and they’ll wear it to photo shoots or onstage or at shows. They’ll tweet about it and I’ll do the same for them like tweet about their new songs or a new album, anything that’s coming out. I try to help them as much as possible as I can too.

Are you on Warped all summer?
Aly: No, we just hopped on July 6th. We’re going till the 30th. And I’m sponsoring the OurStage.com stage so we’re basically going until that stage is done.

Where do you see Jawbreaking in five years? Or where do you hope it will be?
Aly: Oh gosh, I hope it’s a company I can definitely make a living off of. And I hope I’m still happy doing it because I’ve been doing it for four years now. We just had our fourth birthday so I hope it’s still going strong. And we’ll be doing bigger things, we’ll be in stores, and everyone will be wearing it. But I really just want to keep producing shirts that people like and apparel that people like. It’s really crazy because people tell me, “You’re such an inspiration,” and it’s very surreal because I didn’t use to think I was that influential on people. So I want to continue to keep being that person for people because it’s apparently opening new doors. And people are like “Oh I’m gonna do this!” And customers are creating their own companies, so it’s really cool to see that, that I’ve inspired them to do that.


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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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