Turning street art to street wear with PAKRAT INK

Turning street art to street wear with PAKRAT INK

Recently we have been connecting with interesting and creative businesses that push for creativity and individuality above all else.  Through the power of social media, we had the opportunity to interview Elissa from PAKRAT INK and talk about her business.

For those of you who don’t know PAKRAT INK is a streetwear company for the creative. They take murals from all over Chicago and print them onto various apparel items (We are obsessed with the denim jacket which we now have in our studio).  On top of this, they not only give back to the artists who created the work but also support non-profits around Chicago for teens who are looking to develop their creativity! It's hard to find founders who are like-minded when it comes to growing the creative community so we jumped on the opportunity to really talk with them. 


Take a few minutes to read up on our chat with Elissa the Co-founder of PAKRAT INK. 


We love the idea behind your business and love supporting artists and talent. Where did this idea come from? When did it first come to light?


I’ve always loved to travel and I spent about 5 months backpacking through Europe, Central America and Mexico and the idea came to me during my trip. I love getting to know a new city by just wandering around and seeing where you end up and what you can find. And what I found was street art. Tons of it and I was super drawn to it. I love how something so simple that would normally be overlooked, like the side of a building or garage door, is transformed into something incredible. I wanted to do the same thing with apparel.     

I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and I kept coming back to it since there was nothing like it out there. Finally, I decided to just go for it. I hit it hard and within 6 months launched the brand.  


Talk us through the process: from finding the artist to getting it printed.


We wanted to keep it really local for our launch so we found artists that were based out of Chicago and had public art in Chicago. It was important to be able to meet with all the artists in person, find out what they’re all about and photograph the murals myself. I found all of the artists online, mostly with Instagram.

 We do everything ourselves because we’re insane and want the highest quality that’s a true representation of the artist’s work. So first we photograph the murals, then there’s a long editing process using Photoshop that’s unique to each design. We print everything in-house using a state-of-the-art direct to garment printer that can print millions of different colors and prints directly onto the apparel. Our unique printing technique ensures the prints stay super vibrant and long-lasting. We spent months perfecting our craft so we’re able to create something so unique that’s truly a work of art.

What are your plans for growing, will we be seeing new cities and new emerging artists?


We launched PakRat Ink in our hometown Chicago about two months ago. Our goal for 2019 is to add 6 new cities across the US and expand internationally as well. Each city will feature local artists and we will partner with a local non-profit that encourages and supports young artists. We’re makers and creators at our core so we’re constantly coming up with new ideas and innovations. We’re just getting started but we have big ambitions so stay tuned to see what’s next.  


What's your vision for the business in the next few years? Where do you want it to be, who do you want wearing it?


In the next few years, my goal is to travel to cities all over the world from Europe to Asia to South America and collaborate with hundreds of artists to share their street art worldwide. Since we’re all about supporting current and future artists, the more people wearing PakRat Ink apparel, the more good we can do.


We are big on educating new and aspiring entrepreneurs and creatives, so what's one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting their journey in entrepreneurship?


If you have an idea that you just can’t get out of your head and are passionate about, there will never be a perfect time to start, so don’t wait years - do it today.


If you are interested in learning more about what Elissa and her team are up to follow them below! 

Models are wearing Elloo's design in the denim series, size Large

PC: @TheoJamesTaylor & Model: @Aliciamaclarenmodeling


Instagram: @pakratink
Facebook: /PakRatInk