The Alkaline Effect
Student entrepreneur electrifies skateboarding community with new apparel line
story: sean yu design: kirthana vasanth photo: jordan snively
Alkaline Skateboards is a clothing label and skateboard company founded by Le Cras in the fall of 2019.
When most people think of the word “alkaline,” their first thoughts usually go to chemistry, disposable batteries or fad diets. When second year mechanical engineering student Matt Le Cras thinks of the word “alkaline,” the first thoughts that come to his mind include passion, creativity and community.
Combining Entrepreneurship, Art, and Skateboarding
The brand is a combination of many of Le Cras' passions, including entrepreneurship, art and skateboarding.
“I have loved art and clothing since I was in middle school,” said Le Cras. “Last year, with [Ohio State’s] ski and board team, I designed t-shirts, hoodies, stickers and patches. A couple people on the team started asking me, ‘why don’t you sell your stuff?’ and I realized this was something I’ve always wanted to do.”
" I like the idea of taking high fashion in a different direction...I want my designs to ask, ‘what can we say about the world around us?’ ”
Navigating the Logistics
Those “logistics” included the flashier elements of small business startups, such as logos, designs, products and overall brand image. However, it also meant handling much of the behind-the-scenes aspects of a business, such as a website/online store design and a full-fledged operating agreement—two components that Le Cras quickly sought outside help for through a student web developer and even a lawyer specializing in business law.
Establishing Alkaline Brand Identity
From the moment of its inception, Alkaline has followed a very specific aesthetic borne from Le Cras' interest in blending 90s-style designs with contemporary social commentary. Le Cras was heavily inspired by the counterculture style of the classic skate brands of the 80s and 90s.
“I like the idea of taking high fashion in a different direction,” Le Cras said. “I want my designs to ask, ‘what can we say about the world around us?’”
As it turns out, Alkaline Skate has a lot to say about the world around it. The brand’s graphics feature messaging about overcoming adversity, commentary on e-cigarettes and even artwork about the chemistry side of the word “alkaline.” Le Cras created designs based on issues he felt were important on a personal and societal level.
Through these distinct designs and their themes, Le Cras aims to establish a strong and unified brand identity that promotes a feeling of community with everyone involved. He looks to engender in others the same feelings of camaraderie and positivity he has experienced in the skateboarding community.
“For as many people who will criticize you or say you’ll fail, there’s [so many] more people who will support you or want to go with you. They may not want to join your group or cause, but there will almost always be people who will like you and want to help out in whatever way they can,” said Le Cras. “You can definitely do anything you want to do. You just have to find the right people to help you get there.”
Check out Alkaline Skate!