RIDING THE ROCKETT
First used by our soldiers as an alternative to the wool uniforms worn during WWI, the T-shirt was developed by Jockey International for use in athletic events to protect athletes from chaffing. Originally intended as underwear, the T-shirt has forced its way from its buttoned counterparts and thrust itself into the spotlight. These days, you can’t have a shirt without some kind of beer, band, or political message strewn all over it.
With recent developments in screen-printing, and every Joe Schmo thinking himself a Wall Street genius, clothing companies have been popping up all over…and disappearing just as quickly. Most companies start when one guy draws a doodle on a napkin and thinks it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, and decides to put it on a Hanes Beefy T and sell it to his friends.
Over the last ten years, hundreds of companies have started and ended this way; not realizing that using the same tired logo emblazened over and over on various garments isn’t the best way to make a living. To have any kind of staying power in the fashion industry, you have to stay original, and ever-evolving. Rockett is not only proficient at this, they excel on this front.
Formed as a screen-printing company in 2002, Rockett smartly made merchandise for their specialized niche market of local bands in the burgeoning hardcore scene. Owner Rob Rozema had the opportunity to work with hardcore-heavyweights Atreyu, Eighteen Visions, and Bleeding Through when they were but fledglings. Soon after, Rozema decided to stop making shirts based on the designs of other people, and focus on his own creations, which were an amalgamation of Horror-inspired style and images that were emblematic of the ever-growing Orange County Hardcore scene.
By providing free clothes to friends’ bands and developing a well thought out grassroots guerilla marketing strategy, Rozema’s “juggernaut promotion” approach pushed Rockett clothing into the limelight. Expanding out of his home and adding-on two cohorts—Shaina Turian and Travis Ducsay—Rockett Clothing quickly became one of Southern California’s biggest independent clothing companies. Having your apparel carried in over 300 stores in more than five countries—including Australia, Hungary, Japan, and Canada—is a daunting task that the Rockett personnel see merely as a stepping stone.
Progressive style is a key factor to Rockett’s success. From Gary Baseman-esque figures stretching from shoulder to waist, to images of one-eyed tigers jumping over rays of pink light with gold foil laminated over the breast, Rockett has gained notoriety for utilizing the style and skills of some of today’s hottest artists. Every day, Rockett is bombarded with submissions from artists from all over the world. Only a handful can be picked to be featured in the season’s line, and there are a lot of broken hearts.
Just looking at their website gives you a clear representation of the “something for everyone” philosophy that sets Rockett apart from its otherwise fierce competition. Rockett clothing has become so popular that stars such as David Spade and Fergie have been seen sporting these hip threads. Top that with a throng of bands from New Found Glory, to the Bled, to Silverstein brandishing the Rockett Logo, and you have a fashion empire in the making.
In 2007, Rockett Clothing ventured into the Retail world with the opening of their first store in Pomona, California. With this expansion, Rockett has set its sites on expanding their line to not only T-shirts and hoodies, but jeans and fleece, as well.
In order to make a successful company, you need a good idea, the know-how to get it done, and the desire to see it through. By maintaining the momentum that most companies lose within their first six months, Rob Rozema and company have turned a screen-printing company that ran out of Rozema’s parents’ house into a flourishing art-based clothing company.
The Rockett Store is located at 250 W. 2nd St. Pomona, California 91766. 12pm-7pm.