Nicholas Litrenta

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His clothing line, Define You Apparel, was launched last year and plays off of the music management arm of the business. It features T-shirts, hoodies and other items emblazoned with the word “Resilient,” a concept designed in collaboration with Matt Greiner, drummer for the band August Burns Red. While they were tossing ideas around, Greiner asked Litrenta to describe himself in one word. “That word was ‘resilient,’” said Litrenta.

“I had always been faced with adversity,” he added, “and I had the strength to overcome. I want to let people know that anything is possible with hard work. In this world, people will knock you down, but each time you get back up brings a new opportunity.”

The photo shoot for the “Resilient” line was held at the Greiner family property in Pennsylvania and in the same barn that the band’s third studio album Constellations was written.

“I thought it was really cool,” said Litrenta, “because our concept relates to the band as musicians. The old ABR van and trailer ended up in the background of some photos, which really relates to the musician out on the road trying to get by, making a living, building a fan base. They need to be resilient in order to make it.”

That spirit of endurance, boldness and independence infuses all of Litrenta’s work. “I’m a really motivated person, so I am always pushing boundaries in all kinds of ways,” he said. “We really struggled to come up with a name at first, but I noticed how much peer pressure there is in the world today. So often kids are afraid to be themselves because they are afraid to be judged. Thus, when we came up with the concept of ‘define you,’ we knew that was it.”

Litrenta was inspired to develop his own clothing company when he was involved in a freshman-year enterprise at Immaculata. “We made 100 T-shirts for a project with a school mascot,” he said, “and they sold out in under an hour.”

After that eye-opening experience, Litrenta spent a great deal of time performing due diligence before embarking on his apparel adventure. “I did a lot of market research,” he said, “and devoted a lot of effort into putting out the best product possible.”

Litrenta learned that one of the keys to success is to be fully prepared. “Do the proper homework before starting a business,” he cautioned. “Running a business is great, but it’s definitely difficult to build one up. It’s very important to be efficient and have the proper team in place.”

Define You’s team includes graphic designers, a West Coast distribution group, a web designer and, of course, the bands that they work with, promote and endorse. Litrenta also is in the process of hiring a creative director to help express Define You’s unique mission and message. “It’s great to have a vision or a plan,” he said, “and then get to see things carried out to places I never could have imagined.”

Litrenta admits that one of the challenges Define You faces is the higher costs of producing its clothing domestically instead of abroad, but that’s a non-negotiable element. According to Litrenta, “One of the reasons I started the company is because I had a little trouble finding T-shirts made in the USA.”

All of Litrenta’s products are manufactured and printed in the United States on environmentally friendly equipment. “We use several companies in Pennsylvania for our production process,” he said.

When he’s not working on clothing designs, Litrenta is busy managing the flourishing career of Ace Augustine, a young Christian metal band out of Lancaster, PA. Define You endorses such artists as I, The Breather, Brenton Duvall, and The May Season.

After graduating from Immaculata in May, Litrenta plans to continue pursuing a professional path in the music and fashion industries, though he eventually intends to return to school for his M.B.A.

“I see myself focusing on building growth in those two areas,” said Litrenta, “and even expanding into new ones. I really just want to stay passionate about the work while giving back as much as I can.”

Author: Cesar Molina

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