20-Year-Old Designer Nick Lenzini Wants You To Stay Broke

By Sarah Stallmann
In Style

Sure, anyone can screen print a tee, but when it comes to the talent and patience to hand draw designs weekly on dozens of limited edition shirts that are shipped all over the world, designer Nick Lenzini proves he has plenty of both.

Photo by Cory Miller.

Photo by Cory Miller.

The ambitious 20-year-old had plenty to be excited about when we sat down and chatted about his budding streetwear brand, Stay Broke, which balances a unique limited-run, pre-order concept that has a growing fan-base of young, fashion-forward shoppers that may not otherwise be able to afford certain brands.

“I started the pre-order concept because I’m drawing each tee by hand and didn’t want to spend the time to draw a bunch of shirts without having advance orders,” says Lenzini. “It’s turned out to be a cornerstone of the brand. People look out for the drops, which are available for a limited time only—from as little as one hour to as long as a week—and they know they need to snatch it up because it won’t be released again.” The best part? His tees usually retail for right around $25.

Photo by Cory Miller.

Hand-drawn Spring Tee, now sold out. Photo by Cory Miller.

The collection includes a variety of tees, hats, hoodies and pants as well as “collection” items which include buy-now screen-printed pieces that are available until they sell out. “The personal connection with each piece is really important, and even if the company keeps growing, I hope to not lose that,” he says.

In addition to the products, Lenzini—who has also positioned himself as the face of Stay Broke—has created a lifestyle brand identity that features an active social media platform (Instagram), lookbooks and short visual brand videos in collaboration with STL-based photographer Cory Miller. The results are a cohesive expression of youth culture and a representation of the loyalty that streetwear brands build within their target markets at an early age.

"American Pie" Lookbook for Stay Broke. photo by Cory Miller.

“American Pie” Lookbook for Stay Broke. Photo by Cory Miller.

Ever the modest creator, Lenzini admits that he is still learning how to progress and enjoys the experimentation process of becoming an emerging brand. “I learn a ton from being around brands and really living the Stay Broke lifestyle,” he says about spending his days as an employee of St. Louis’ streetwear epicenter, Swedlife. “I like having fun with it and taking things day by day. And people like it which is pretty cool.”

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