Yiannis Tsalatsidis wears his heart on his sleeve.
Along with his friend Jordan Smith, the University of Winnipeg business student created YTID Clothing - a.k.a. Young Till I Die - a casual streetwear brand that represents passion, youthful thinking and chasing one’s dreams.
“YTID started as just an inspirational thing for Jordan and I,” says Tsalatsidis, 23. “It means following your passion until the day you die. That’s how you stay young. What that means for us is just doing the things we enjoy. We enjoy making clothes, making shirts, playing sports and listening to music and we decided we wanted to share that.”
Tsalatsidis and Smith started selling their spirited shirts, sweaters and toques in December, selling out of YTID’s initial run (115 units) on Jan. 10.
So far, it’s all social networking-based; YTID is promoting itself through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
That said, YTID recently signed a contract with an online store in B.C., and is working with other local indie labels to eventually open a retail store in Winnipeg.
The near future looks good, too.
In mid-February, YTID will launch its new line and website, www.ytidclothing.com.
The clothing company has already signed on a couple notables to rep its gear, like San Diego rapper DEEzo as well as Jesse Abraham, a New York hip hop artist named Lyricist of the Year at the 2011 Underground Music Awards.
“Every month on our website we will feature a young up-and-coming artist, whether they’re a musician, another clothing designer, whatever,” Tsalatsidis says. “Whatever you’re trying to do, as long as it’s something you’re passionate about and you’re wearing
YTID gear, you can send us a picture and a short bio so we can show the world how you’re chasing your dreams and following your passion.”
For Tsalatsidis, following his passion wasn’t exactly easy.
He grew up poor, lost his mother at an early age and was pressured by his family and friends to quit high school and start working, something he seriously considered doing.
However, Tsalatsidis persevered.
In addition to graduating high school, he earned a diploma in business administration from Red River College, completing the two-year program in one year.
After he completes classes at the U of W, he hopes to get into the University of Manitoba’s Asper MBA program.
“I felt a lot of pressure (to quit school and get a job), but I just had to do my own thing and I’m glad I didn’t give in,” Tsalatsidis says. “One thing I really value is sacrificing something good to perhaps get something great. Yes, it’s a risk, but I believe the trade-off is right.”
Tsalatsidis’s stick-to-itiveness is completely in line with YTID’s message.
“We’re trying to inspire,” Tsalatsdis says. “We hope that the people who are wearing our brand have a dream and aren’t afraid to express it, whether it’s through their clothing or their words. If you have a dream, follow it. That’s what we’re trying to personify with YTID.”
Published in Volume 67, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 7, 2013)