No dream is too big when starting a business, according to Atticus Rosen ’24, who founded the clothing brand DART this past year. DART is both a brand and artists’ collective in which artists—known as “DARTists”—are given a platform to collaborate and showcase their work, which Rosen prints onto garments for his business. However, DART is not just a hobby for Rosen; it is an all-consuming passion.
Volume two of Dart dropped on October 24 and closed on Tuesday. Featured DARTist Kade worked with Rosen to create the main design, a drawing of a face with a dart in its eye, which Rosen printed onto shirts and hats. This marks DART’s second product launch following its debut release last September.
DART has been in the making for several years, however. When Rosen was a sophomore, he faced personal challenges that left him searching for a new purpose.
“I was just struggling mentally, and I wasn’t sure if I belonged at Bowdoin or if things would get better, and I wasn’t very hopeful for the future. I didn’t really know what I was doing here,” Rosen said.
During this time, Rosen took a printmaking class where he discovered a much-needed outlet for creativity and self-expression. When his friends suggested that he combine his love for fashion with his newfound interest in printing, he founded DART.
“Once that fuse was lit, I was [excited] for the first time in a long time … and I was not going to be stopped,” Rosen said. “I applied myself 110 percent into making this something real, and I guess I just haven’t stopped since. I probably think about DART or work on DART more than I do anything else.”
Now, Rosen hopes to help others struggling with mental health, as DART helped him through a challenging time in his life. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Rosen joined a group in high school called Mental Health Awareness Through Storytelling (MHATS) that was established in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Through this group, Rosen witnessed the impact that spreading awareness about mental health can have on destigmatizing mental illness. In hopes to continue these efforts, Rosen donates five percent of all profits from DART to NAMI.
It was also in Anchorage that Rosen first learned the ropes of screen printing through an apprenticeship under Hulin Alaskan Design. He credits the owner, Brett Hulin Connor, for teaching him everything he needed to know to create his own screen-printed clothing and eventually launch a brand. On campus, Rosen uses a heat press for a more efficient, less expensive alternative to screen printing. With the sales from his most recent clothing drop, he plans to purchase an embroidery machine, further improving the quality of his products.
When it comes to the business side of running a brand, Rosen considers himself an amateur who is learning as he goes.
“You got to spend money to make money,” Rosen said. “I probably sound like everybody who starts a clothing brand, but when you have a dream, you have to give it your all.”
Rosen’s vision is already becoming a reality. He has successfully orchestrated two clothing drops and has three featured DARTists on board: Kade, Sophie Chu and Marcus Gadsden ’24, with others soon to be showcased as well.
“After hearing how much the company meant to him, I want to see him do well,” Gadsden said. “He’s about this. He’s committed to it. I love his energy.”
Rosen considers himself creative but not artistically talented, so the DARTists play a key role in generating his final designs. Ideas on how DARTists can bring his visions to life come to Rosen at all hours of the day, often even when he is laying in bed at night. He views DART as a platform for collaborative creativity and artist recognition rather than simply financial gain.
“One of the slogans that I was kind of toying with for a while was ‘creativity over consumption,’ which is what I want to keep in mind for as long as I’m doing DART,” Rosen said. “[DART is] much more rooted in a desire to create…. I want it to be something that everybody can be a part of.”
Rosen envisions DART becoming “a global phenomenon” that sponsors skaters, hosts music festivals and helps artists connect and gain notoriety for their work, all while still committing profits and effort toward mental health awareness. He views DART as a potential counter to large corporations like Shein and Temu and sees DART “disrupting the market” in the future.
“It’s a big dream, but I don’t think that you can do something like this without having a big dream,” Rosen said. “You’ll be seeing a lot more DART this year. I’m planning on making waves here before I go…. DART to the moon.”