Philly Faces: Student Creates Streetwear

Gavin Karp | Photo provided

You can find Gavin Karp’s line of streetwear on underground hip-hop artists in South Florida and on Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

And the 22-year-old designer, who graduates from Drexel University in June, is just getting started.

Karp has always had an interest in fashion. He started making T-shirts at 19 years old after seeing graphic T-shirts at the mall and thinking to himself, “I can do this.”

That summer, he saved money from an internship at Ralph Lauren to create T-shirts with just his initials on them. Since then, he has created several other designs and expanded his brand, which are available at Delsette, seasonally at Boyds Philadelphia and at

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: Very simple, futuristic. … I’m not a big guy on color. Ever since I was a little kid, I always wore darker colors. … I was just always a fan of modern things, black and white colors, gray palettes, creams. I do have some color, like with the sneakers that I wear, but my style, I would say, is very modern/simple, with a darkish city palette. I like baggy. I don’t like tight-fitting T-shirts. I’m a big sneaker guy, so I’m always wearing sneakers. I do like formal clothes on the right occasion, but usually you’ll just catch me in a big T-shirt, with some black pants on and some Nike sneakers.  

Q: Would you say your line embodies your sense of style?

A: One of the people I look up to a lot in the industry is Ronnie Fieg, who owns the brand Kith, and he says a quote that always sticks with me, that he only makes things that he would see in his own closet, and I do the same. Every product I make, the first question I ask myself is, “Do I see this in my closet? Would I wear it?” And if I don’t, I won’t make it. Basically, everything I design is something I would wear first.

Q: What’s the story with Alshon Jeffery?

A: I saw him around the city a few times, just around random places. I remember I walked into a clothing store, and I saw him for the first time. We talked a little bit. He’s a super nice guy. Then I saw him again, just walking around the city. I guess he knew my face. Luckily, I had class one day, and I always carry T-shirts in my bag because you never know when an opportunity [might arise], especially in a city like Philly with so many awesome people in it. I was just walking down the street, and he came out of this building. … I first said “Hi” to him, and then I pitched it to him after that. He liked it and took [a T-shirt], but I didn’t know if he was going to wear it or not, and then a few weeks later, I saw him on his Instagram story … and he was wearing it.

Q: What are your post-graduation plans?

A: I want to pick my exact fabric, make cool jackets, pants, maybe even sneakers one day — an actual full, high, semi-luxury line. It’s hard to do that when you’re young, especially when I’m financing everything myself right now. I’m pretty sure I’m just going to, on the side, create a line, but at the same time, try to get a job in the industry and learn as much as possible and absorb as much knowledge as I can … and hopefully in the next few years, I can have a solid collection that can be released. 

[email protected]; 215-832-0729


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here