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Small town, big dreams

After printing, Gabe Clauson-Klepper dries the ink on a shirt he calls the “VIBES Jersey.” (Contributed)1 / 2
Gabe Clauson-Klepper spreads ink on a design template he created for his company, LUXURIA. (Courtney Bitzan/Echo Press)2 / 2

Gabe Clauson-Klepper of Alexandria is only 17 years old, but he’s not letting age put his dreams on hold.

During the 2012-13 school year, Clauson-Klepper took a photography and print making class at Jefferson High School in Alexandria. During the class, students had the opportunity to experiment with screen-printing.

“I fell in love,” Clauson-Klepper said. He instantly knew that he wanted to utilize screen-printing and follow his dream of starting a clothing company.

Clauson-Klepper purchased a screen-printing kit in 2013 and eagerly began his company, LUXURIA.

“I started LUXURIA because I love clothes. It’s always been a life goal of mine, and I want to shape the world via design,” the entrepreneur stated about his company.

“I want to make clothing from and for the world’s youth.”

The business aspect of Clauson-Klepper’s company has been a great learning experience. He has been learning as he’s been going, with some advice from local business owners.

“Over the past nine months I have learned so much. From the physical process of printing to online commerce, I’ve been in a constant business crash course,” he stated about LUXURIA.

So far, Clauson-Klepper has designed two different styles of shirts, stickers, and is currently working on hats.

His designs are inspired by 1960s and 70s pop culture and hip-hop culture, along with the lines and curves of American Renaissance architecture.

“I always carry my design notebook and pens with me, and scribble ideas down when they come to me,” Clauson-Klepper said about his design planning. “Inspiration comes from everywhere.”

Many students at Jefferson High School are in constant support of their classmate’s dream, purchasing his new items once they hit the market.

“There are no words to describe the feeling of walking around school and seeing four or five kids on any given day wearing LUXURIA,” he said. “Seeing my work being worn still makes my day.”

Starting a business might seem like an unattanable goal for many people, but anything is possible if you keep your eyes on your goal.

“For any aspiring business owner – chase your dreams, but start small. There’s always room to grow once you’ve proven you have a formula for success,” was Clauson-Klepper’s advice.

When he’s not working on LUXURIA or in school, the 17-year-old is heavily involved with student government, and will be Alexandria Area High School’s inaugural student council president. He also loves hip-hop, biking and coffee.

This young entrepreneur is proof that everybody, no matter how old, can make their dreams a reality.

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