Austin Braswell, who was born and raised in Frederick, has started his own clothing brand to share everything he loves about his hometown.
Frederick Bound currently sells T-shirts, stickers and pennants in a monthly pop-up shop, online at frederickbound.com and at The Muse in downtown Frederick. Current designs include gray and white T-shirts embroidered with “Frederick” in rainbow letters, a T-shirt with the Barbara Fritchie Restaurant candy cane and a shirt emblazoned with the row houses of downtown Frederick.
Braswell is selling the apparel out of a small studio in the Griffin Art Center at 4 W. Fifth St. every First Saturday from about 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Braswell is a full-time graphic designer at National Geographic in Washington, D.C., and designs his Frederick Bound products while on the MARC train.
The Frederick News-Post sat down with Braswell to ask him a few questions about his new brand. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What was the inspiration and idea behind Frederick Bound?
I kind of had this whole collection of Frederick designs and I thought it would be a cool idea to start putting them on shirts and see people's reactions to them. And I also felt like there was not a lot of other people in Frederick doing this same kind of thing. I'm a huge fan of Frederick, personally. I grew up here and I love living here, and it's just a special place to me personally, so I guess I was just trying to capture that feeling and communicate that through my designs.
A lot of what I'm trying to do is make modern designs that I think people from any age demographic might find interesting, but I'm also trying to do some designs that are sort of nostalgic and retro-feeling. So this Barbara Fritchie shirt. In my head, I have this catalog of iconic Frederick landmarks, and that's one of those landmarks. So I just wanted to make a shirt that brought back that nostalgic feeling.
What kind of aspects of Frederick do you want to include in your designs?
Its uniqueness of a place. I'm really interested in all of the businesses that have come through Frederick, and the industries and the interesting people that aren't talked about as much these days, at least for a younger generation. I want to make sure that the clothing I'm making is something that somebody would wear, but also if I can tell a story at the same time, then that's a win.
Do you have plans for other products you might want to launch in the future?
I have some sweaters coming out soon. Those will be really fun. Those will look sort of retro with stitched felt. I have a bunch of T-shirt designs, so I can put those out at any time but I'm really just trying to trickle new designs out slow, so I don't want to release too much too soon, because I'm trying to build this slow and steady. I'm working on getting enamel pins. I'm trying to put out at least one new design once a month. If I could challenge myself to do that, that seems like a good pace, maybe one every other month.
What was the idea behind the name Frederick Bound?
I brainstormed a lot of names when I was first trying to think of something, and I thought Frederick Bound was kind of cool, because it was about the action of heading home, heading toward Frederick. So that was what I was trying to touch upon.
I've actually been surprised, I've sent stuff over to the Carolinas, up to New York, as far as Florida, Michigan, I sent one to a naval base outside of the country. I think it's kind of cool that they can get a little piece of home through buying my products, or at least be reminded of home.
What are you excited about for the future?
A lot of things. I'm super stoked that I was able, for one, to transform this space into a little retail store, so I feel like really fortunate to just have this physical space, because I think it's important to physically interact with someone, and bring them in and give me the chance to explain my thought process behind things. But I think I'm just excited to grow this brand, meet more people, further spread Frederick to the world, as just like a really cool city with lots of interesting people. Just kind of seeing how big I can make this.