Before having the idea to start his brand, 20-year-old Emil DaneIian had been seeing the numbers 444 everywhere for nearly two years.
The Stony Brook University health science major decided to go outside the norm for an average college student by using the numbers he saw everywhere and turning them into his own clothing line, 444.
“Whether it was me randomly checking the time and it being 4:44, seeing 444 likes on a post, or other totally random occurrences,” said Danelian. “I felt like it followed me.”
Upon further research, Danelian discovered that the meaning behind seeing these numbers frequently was the universe’s way of telling someone that they’re protected by angels or that they’re on the right path in life. That is when he knew he wanted to name his brand 444.
Danelian started 444 with the goal to inspire others to trust in themselves and the universe.
“Everything will work out, as long as you are doing what you can,” said Danelian. “I want to promote this way of life and build a community of people who understand it. I hope I can reach those who really need to hear these messages through my clothing.”
Danelian was raised in Brooklyn, New York within a Chinese-Armenian household. He says this unique background allowed him to have a greater appreciation for diversity.
“I was exposed to lots of different cultures and people early on and it helped,” said Danelian.
Danelian always had a love for fashion, however he couldn’t necessarily afford the clothes he wanted until he started working.
“This meant growing up,” said Danelian. “I had to get creative with what I had.”
He accredits a lot of his appreciation to his uncle for introducing him into sneaker and street fashion culture.
“My first memory of fashion was around third or fourth grade when my uncle… [who] was a sneakerhead himself, he started buying me my shoes and he kept me fresh with a pair of Nikes, Adidas, or Vans at the start of every school year,” recalled Danelian. “I remember being intrigued by the colors and trying to match my clothes with them. From then on I became interested in sneakers and clothing and the love has only grown.”
Early 2020, Danelian began his journey making his own clothing when he learned how to screenprint onto shirts. During the quarantine order, he taught himself how to sew and use several design programs. He was able to use these many techniques to design his collection. His brand offers an assortment of clothing, including hoodies, t-shirts, beanies, trucker hats, tote bags etc. All these items are available on the website.
“So far, I’ve made 99% of all pieces myself,” stated Danelian. “This includes screen printing, drying the print, and sewing on labels or adding finishing touches. I make sure that I’m sending my customer a high quality piece.”
He says the hardest part about creating a line was “getting started.”
“I am a one man team,” said Danelian. “Everything is run by me, from the creative to financial aspects.”
He used platforms such as YouTube as a means of research. He also messaged other small brands for advice. Now, he is a lot more comfortable and confident making business decisions.
“I appreciate the path I took because for me the best teacher is experience and I’ve had a lot this past year,” said the budding entrepreneur.
Danelian uses social media platforms like Instagram as a way to advertise his brand. Thanks to this, he was able to garner a fan base across the United States. However, he says one of his most favorite ways of promoting his brand is through word of mouth.
“It’s a lot more relatable than just seeing my page on social media,” said Danelian.
He hopes to grow his social media presence to open up the door for more opportunities.
In the future, he wants to open up a pop up shop and eventually a physical store. He loves the idea of one day having his favorite artists wear his pieces and even work with people who’ve inspired him. He hasn’t necessarily planned the entire future of his brand, but he’s following his passion for it and trusting that this is the right path for him.
“I know this is what I want to do because it’s something I would still do if there was no money or recognition involved,” said the CEO. “I know I want to keep inspiring people and keep staying creative and innovative through design. I think I would be happy if I’m able to keep having fun with it and do what I like, but at a larger scale so more people can wear and enjoy my clothes.”