By Meggie Hoegler
Wanze Song and Claire Scott, the designers behind the new Torontobased custom shirt line Eyze (pronounced “easy”), are living the dream: their designs sell out mere hours after being released, their clothes have been featured on Degrassi and they’re only 19 years old.
Though the pair launched their newest collection of designs on Friday, their company dates back to June, when Song, a second-year fashion student at Ryerson, was in search of a summer job.
“I applied everywhere – even McDonald’s. No one was hiring,” Song explains. But that night, “I saw this video on Facebook that a friend posted about starting your own business,” she says. “That inspired me to start Eyze.”
Song called up Scott, an arts student at York University, with her idea and the two childhood friends dove into the fashion business together.
In three months, Eyze has garnered more success than some designers do in years. The women took a risk by investing in Eyze, and it paid off. The pair made a significant profit on their most recent collection alone.
Part of that popularity stems from a cameo on Degrassi. Song, who interned at the show over the summer, showed her line to the costume department. They liked it so much that they had the character Tristan wear an Eyze shirt on the show.
The line is expanding into other areas of the country as well. “I saw two girls at Osheaga in Montreal wearing Eyze shirts,” says Song. “It was so amazing to see our designs on people we didn’t even know. It still feels like such a dream.” The duo is inspired by “trippy and colourful” patterns or “art on a T-shirt,” as Scott calls it, referring to the bold cat graphic on her sweater.
“We create all our own designs. We either draw them by hand or create them on Photoshop. That’s what makes it so unique.” The women say that all of their designs are inspired by different characters. “We take all our own photos.
For our newest line, we had different personas for each model. There was a ‘smoking girl’ who had a very hipster look,” Scott explains. Another featured an angelic-looking, blonde “flower girl,” whom the pair photographed in a field of flowers.
“My advice to other young people trying to make it in the arts is don’t hesitate,” Song says.
Scott echoes that tip. “If there’s something you want to do, go for it,” she says.
“That’s what we did and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”