PITTSBURGH — Adam Klenovich is a 17-year-old high school junior who talks more like a seasoned CEO than a typical teen.
He has big plans to build a fashion label that would double as a platform to promote other creatives, including designers, artists and musicians. He also envisions holding events someday that are part concert, part fashion showcase. Giving shoppers the option to donate a portion of the proceeds from their clothing purchase to a nonprofit is part of his master plan, too.
But he doesn’t just talk the talk. He spends most nights after school and weekends trying to make his dream happen. This month, he’s showcasing and selling pieces from his fashion line IMPERFECT in a gallery at 4413 Butler St., in the Lawrenceville neighborhood every Friday through Sunday. Eleven percent of money from each sale will be donated to charity.
“This is how we want to help people,” said Adam, who launched IMPERFECT nearly a year ago. “We’re using clothing to draw people in and then explain to people what we’re trying to do.”
He works on this labor of love with his friends Rees Edwards, 18, who attends Robert Morris University, and Ben Whiting, 20, a Carlow University student.
Adam got the bug to start his own business while in pandemic quarantine. After school ended last spring, he said he found himself at “a plateau in my life” and wanted to use his time being stuck at home because of COVID-19 “to put my mind to something that would eventually help me” — and others, too. He liked fashion but often had trouble finding things he actually wanted to wear that didn’t cost a lot.
“I might as well start making my own stuff,” he said, “and that’s where it all started.”
As a creative, he is like a sponge who soaks up inspiration wherever he goes, so the clothing he comes up with is pretty abstract. One thing all apparel has in common, though, is that no two pieces are exactly the same — hence the brand’s name IMPERFECT.
Nothing is “cookie cutter,” he explained. “You don’t want to hear something in music or see something in fashion or art that someone has done 20 times.”
Since last summer, he strives to wear something IMPERFECT wherever he goes.