Today we’d like to introduce you to Nate Kreiter.
Nate, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started spray painting stencils and honestly really bad art when I was younger in Montana. Then once I graduated college I moved to Los Angeles and had no idea what I wanted to do. I wandered for a few years, and then I fell back in love with the idea of making art. I was poor at the time so it mainly consisted of doing stencils out of cardboard I took from work and spray paint I bought at hardware stores. Then I made this stencil called “fucklove” probably because I was in a rough place personally, so it just kinda hit me different than anything else had. I immediately fell in love with it and the idea of creating something that could illicit so many different feelings or meanings to different people. So I started spraying it on hoodies and tees, and then after quite a bit of attention I got from it and people telling me to, “put that on stuff to sell!” I decided to see what that looked like. I was turned down by every screen printer I contacted because they were “too busy” or “we don’t do orders that small.” So I called my dad and explained the problems I was having, and after a short conversation, he asked me to email him the schematics of a screen press so he could build it for me. He told me that if I couldn’t find someone to do the job for me, to do it myself. So he built me a screen press with his barehands out of wood, which looking back was one of the most impactful moments of my life. So, I flew home and we drove it out from Montana. I taught myself how to screenprint (poorly for that matter) but it was enough to get the company started.
After a few years of that, I wasn’t sure what my next move was, but I knew graphic tees weren’t it. Then tragically my father passed away in a motorcycle accident two days after my birthday in 2015. When I got home for the funeral I saw a card on his table with my name but no address. He regularly forgot it and would text me and ask for it to send my bday card. Once I finally opened it the last words were, “You are loved beyond mere words.” I knew that was the last thing he would ever say to me. Once I got back to LA I knew it was time to stop dragging my feet, because I just saw first hand how quickly your life can change or even end, so why waste time? So I began the venture into a cut and sew and higher fashion. Designing my own pieces from beginning to end and shifting from graphic tee company to a contemporary fashion line. And have grown that direction ever since.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not even close. When I first started I was turned down by all the screen printers I knew, so I didn’t know how to get my ideas out. Then I had to teach myself how to screen print and I was terrible at it for a long time. The LA county fair stole one of my designs and I couldn’t do anything about it because my drawing wasn’t unique enough apparently. My father tragically passed away, leaving me completely lost. Before I could ever get my first cut and sew line out, the first person I worked with ripped me off more than $4000 and I had to take him to court and sue him. The factory I was working with shutting down immediately after my first production run, leaving me searching for other places to take my work on short notice. I’m also this neurotic perfectionist and in an industry like this, makes for so many more headaches than you need. But, I have learned every step of the way and hopefully, things will continue to get smoother… though I’m not holding my breath. All that said, loving the ride!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
N8 is a contemporary fashion label based in Los Angeles. All the pieces are designed, cut, and sewn in Los Angeles. Which helps maintain the quality and high standard I expect from my pieces. I specialize and am known for using combinations of bold colors, with stark contrasts and interesting prints. Ranging from more formal looking fitted pieces to the slightly more casual oversized look, while still maintaining a sharp and put-together aesthetic. I’m honestly most proud of people recognizing one of my pieces based on that aesthetic I mentioned. I don’t put logos all over my pieces, I just use my design style to try and set my line apart from others out there. If you can do that with a combination of fabrics and a consistent and specific voice, I think that is the best possible scenario. Not needing logos splashed all over your line while still being recognizable is incredible and the thing I’m the most proud of.
What were you like growing up?
I was kind of a pain in the ass, to be honest. I always got good grades in school but mixed that with a ton of detention for being the class clown/smartass. I liked being the center of attention and making everyone laugh. I was loud and borderline obnoxious. I was also really into sports, but then when I realized I wasn’t going to the NFL, that left pretty quickly. But the idea of creating interesting thing was always incredibly intriguing to me, and that’s been ever present.
- prices range from $75-$1025
- Tees range from $75-$90
- Coats range from $225-1095
- Bottoms range from $225-$245
- Tops range from $105-$225
- Website: www.shopn8.com
- Email: N8@shopN8.com
- Instagram: @shopn8 and @natekreiter
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shopn8/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/shopn8
Sean Lemoine. Nate Kreiter