September 28, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 52°F


Fashion craze mixes T-shirts with DNA

While vintage tops and destroyed denim are a way to dress like no one else, science has found a way to be even more individualistic with fashion. Two recent college graduates are using DNA to make outfits more personal.

A new clothing line by Identity Apparel blends science and fashion by allowing the customer to wear his or her own DNA, image of a fingerprint or kiss imprint on a T-shirt. The company is co-owned by Dylan Ferguson and Aram Melkoumov, 2009 graduates of Ryerson University in Toronto.

“When we were finishing school last year, we noticed that there’s a lot of homogenous brands out there,” Ferguson said. “So we thought, ‘Well, why can’t we come up with a clothing line that actually allows the customer to show their individuality and wear who they are?’”

In order to wear their own identities, customers first purchase an item of clothing on the company’s Web site,, where they can choose the color and style, as well as what type of design to incorporate with the DNA, kiss or finger imprints.

The company then sends the customer a collection kit consisting of a cheek swab for the DNA line, lipstick and paper for the kiss line, or ink and paper for the fingerprint line. The customer sends the swab or paper back to the company, where the personalization is transferred onto a T-shirt.

“Even though there are billions of people in the world, there will never be another fingerprint, kiss imprint, or DNA the same as [the customer’s],” Ferguson said.

The co-owners stumbled upon the idea of creating the line when they went to an art gallery and saw an image of DNA. They had never seen that combination of science and art before, but noticed its limitations — only being hung on a wall.

“We thought, ‘Why not do something similar, but instead of hang it on the wall, you actually wear it,” Melkoumov said.

When freshman Morgan Ehlers heard about Identity Apparel, her eyes lit up.

“I would definitely buy one of the DNA shirts,” she said as she browsed the company’s Web site.

After finding out that the price of a DNA shirt cost $105, she changed her mind and said the concept would definitely appeal to college students, but the price would not.

“A lot of college students don’t have cash to spend on luxuries like $100 T-shirts,” she said. “I have a strict budget for myself … if I go overboard, I won’t have money to get home for spring break.”

They will soon be launching an Identity Earth line, which will incorporate sustainable fabric options as well as Pet Addict Apparel, to allow customers to wear a pet’s paw print on a T-shirt.

Ferguson said after showing their line at New York Fashion Week last Fall, they realized young designers with a different take on fashion have recently become more appealing.

“The big players in the fashion industry kind of have to watch out for up-comers,” he said. “There’s a lot of new designers coming out with fairly innovative designs, and I think that old-school mentality of fashion, that couture style, might not be the future. It might just be new, small business popping up.”