News / People

Clothing line adds ‘juice’ to Denver fashion menu

DU alum David Zimmerman displayed his Guice clothing line at the "Paint It Purple" fashion show in Sevilla, Spain.

David Zimmerman graduated from DU with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in June 2011 and he’s wasted no time in putting what he learned to use.

The surfer and snowboarder created his own urban streetwear clothing line — Giuce — and has used his marketing training to build buzz around the brand, bringing people out to fashion shows in Colorado, Oregon and Spain.

Giuce (pronounced “juice”) grew out of a photography class Zimmerman loved in his Portland, Ore., high school. He was learning Photoshop when he started playing around with clothing designs and then made a couple of shirts using a simple online application that would print his creations for $20.

His first shirts said “P-town,” which is which is a nickname for Portland that has also given Zimmerman inspiration for other concepts. When he wore them around town, people would ask about them.

“I didn’t have a website, cards or anything,” he says. “I realized there might be some potential, spreading the name I grew to love so much and doing what I’m passionate about.”

With the help of a small loan from his father his freshman year, Zimmerman produced his first line of shirts, working with a local screen printer.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” he says. “There was no business plan, just an idea and a little bit of hype.”

What made the brand unique was its cleanliness, simple designs and logos. The streetwear industry is too cluttered, and a lot of brands are poor quality to the point that paint runs and the shirt shrinks after one wash, Zimmerman says. He based his company on the ideas of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who values fashion as something that looks good, feels good and exceeds expectations.

That commitment to quality paid off and Ptown shirts turned out to be a hit even in Denver. As he looked for ways to promote his brand, Zimmerman was pleased that his professors were willing to give him time and advice. He expects to stay in touch with some of those professors throughout his career, especially his mentor Gregory Wagner, a lecturer and 30-year veteran of the ad wars who’s led campaigns for Budweiser and P&G.

Wagner was struck by the enthusiasm, drive and passion Zimmerman brought to the classroom. He believes Zimmerman will be a hit in the business world because he’s a fighter who doesn’t give up.

“My goal is to inform and inspire,” Wagner says. “I believe David took the most he could get from my advertising courses and will put them into play in the real world. David takes initiative no matter what the project. His work is clean, crisp and it communicates.”

The culmination of his work thus far was a fashion show Zimmerman put on while studying abroad in Spain.

“It took a bit out of my budget, but it was well worth it,” he says. “The people all seemed enthusiastic and were taking pictures. I came back with a different philosophy about where I need to go and what the next steps will be. I need to put together a specific business plan for the company and look for [venture capitalists] and angel investors.”

As Zimmerman leaves college and plans the next steps for Giuce, he’s grateful for the experience of starting something from scratch and adapting to the latest trends to create something people enjoy. Along with his shirts, he made a few mixtapes with some friends of his, a hip-hop group in Arizona called “class project.” They held a release party at DU that raised $2,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The musicians are part of a community of young people pursuing their passions that Zimmerman has become connected with through Giuce.

“We get feedback off each other to build our brands, music and art,” he says. “I’m always out there trying to help a cause, looking for a community that has the same interests. It’s been amazing meeting fun and interesting people. I was never in it for money.”

You can also find Guice on Facebook and Twitter.

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