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CSUN Fashion Entrepreneurs

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As the fall semester begins to reach its halfway point, many seniors at CSUN begin to address the issue of their postgraduate plans.

While students at CSUN will continue with graduate programs or face an existential crisis that challenges their very being, others will pursue an entrepreneurial route promoting their own business.

Such is the case with CSUN business major Pedram Tehranizadeh, 22, a graduating senior this spring.

Alongside brother Payam, 26, CSUN alumnus who graduated with a degree in business in 2013, Tehranizadeh launched the online apparel store Headquarters Clothing in June 2014. The men and women’s apparel shop, Headquarters Clothing, has been growing online since last summer.

“My brother and I knew we wanted to start a business but we didn’t have the money lying around for a restaurant,” Pedram Tehranizadeh said. “We had all these ideas of success and greatness and decided we could convey it best through an apparel shop.”

Working out of their home, the Tehranizadeh brothers produce their own clothing line to sell on their site.

According to the eldest Tehranizadeh, one of the events that set Headquarters Clothing in motion was his job working at Nike after graduation. Payam Tehranizadeh said that after seeing the company’s infrastructure it gave him the knowledge to begin an apparel business with his brother.

Payam Tehranizadeh said that because Nike began as a start-up business of self-motivated people who weren’t afraid to promote themselves, there was no reason he and his brother couldn’t accomplish their goal of starting their clothing line.

“Nike is all about storytelling, they always have an organic story behind their products,” Payam Tehranizadeh said. “We tell everyone we love the clothing we sell. But we love the messages of greatness and success behind them even more.”

The younger brother agrees.

Since launching the site, Headquarters Clothing has generated enough buzz to receive celebrity endorsements.

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photo: purple bridesmaid dresses

According to the Tehranizadeh siblings, they first approached comedian Aphion Crockett at the gym and asked him to sport their clothing. The brothers said they then reached out to professional athletes via social media to ask them to wear their clothing and eventually saw their apparel on the likes of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and rapper Lil Jon.

“We’ve learned that two of the major ways to succeed in this business are to have a product that resonates with people or to get celebrity endorsements,” Pedram Tehranizadeh said. “Luckily, because our product resonated with people, they spread the word and we’ve gotten celebrity endorsements.”

The Tehranizadeh brother’s also offered advice from their father about one of the key points to succeeding in business.

“Our father always told us that two of the virtues in business are patience and consistency,” Pedram Tehranizadeh said. “That’s what my brother and I are still learning.”

Another CSUN alum dealing in the apparel business is C.J. Berina, owner of Collective Lifestyle on Reseda Boulevard.

A graduate of 2012 from the College of Humanities, Berina initially had no intention of going into the apparel industry.

“I knew I wanted to start a business but I had no idea how to go about it,” Berina said. “Soon enough I was about to open a store and that wasn’t necessarily something planned, either.”

According to Berina, Collective Lifestyle began in 2014 as a lifestyle blog. Soon after, Berina and his fellow cohorts at Collective Lifestyle decided to open a brick and mortar streetwear story close to CSUN. Now in its fifth month, Collective Lifestyle is positioning to become a Northridge fashion staple.

“We wanted Collective Lifestyle to primarily be a clothing store while also having a strong emphasis on art and music,” Berina said. “There’s a distinct lack of artistic culture in The [San Fernando] Valley right now and I wanted to fill that need.”

Berina said that Collective Lifestyle has hosted local art shows and provided a performance space for musicians from the area over the past summer. He also hopes to continue to host a place for the cultural scene to thrive and exist in Northridge.

“Physical stores give people a chance to walk in and have that connection with the community,” Berina said. “That’s really what it’s all about – having that connection with the Northridge and Valley community.”

Upon stepping inside Collective Lifestyle, one can see local art and photography plastered over the walls, scoring the clothing racks lining the walls. In the middle of the floor sit two opposing futons with an enormous coffee table between them rife for reading Fader magazine or engaging in a casual game of Jenga.

The store radio plays anything but top 40 songs as college students from CSUN filter in and out, adding pictures of the hidden Reseda Blvd. store to their Snapchat stories.

“Our goal is to have any CSUN student walk in here and find something they would like to buy,” Berina said.

Collective Lifestyle currently sells seven different brands, and hopes to differentiate itself in the marketplace by offering something that isn’t sold at other commercial retailers.

“Pac Sun, Zumiez, all these places are selling clothes that used to be what was considered underground,” Berina said. “Now you see these brand all the time and that type of clothing has become oversaturated. We want to serve as a place where you can still find the underground clothing option.”

Current CSUN students are still deciding how to use the skills they learned in their business-related classes to help them after they graduate.

Stephen Irvine, graduating consumer apparel major hopes to use his degree to utilize both business skills and creativity together.

“I was unaware that CSUN offered a degree in anything fashion related,” Irvine said. “Ultimately, I chose apparel merchandising because of my interest in marketing and because fashion and art can be used in conjunction with each other.”

Irvine said he feels positive in his decision to pursue apparel merchandising and thinks CSUN’s Family and Consumer Sciences Department, part of the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics has helped prepare him for his post-graduate life.

“The faculty of the Family and Consumer Sciences Department have been instrumental in my progression,” Irvine said. “There have been countless difficulties trying to coordinate school and work schedules and those in the business college at CSUN have provided support every step of the way.”

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