Kerri Rickard of Niles grew up surrounded by T-shirts.
In 1977, her mother, Pat Rickard, started the business Pat-t-Shirt, a rock'n'roll inspired screen printing business. Pat-t-Shirt originally began as a business on the road, serving as a vendor at various concerts at the Youngstown, Painesville and Cleveland areas, and also at festivals and speedways.
Pat-t-Shirt specializes in the passion for screen printing and repurposing vintage clothing.
A model shows off Kerri Rickard’s designs at David Grohl Alley in downtown Warren. Rickard repurposes T-shirts and other items of clothing to make her own designs.
"I had a line of concert T-shirts before companies bought licenses for concert T-shirts," Pat Rickard said. "During the 1970s, I printed all kinds of concert T-shirts for bands such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Pat-t-Shirt was an idea I had in my head in the 1970s because people were heavily into music. It was an open market."
Today, Kerri Rickard looks at T-shirts in a different way, repurposing shirts for new clothing and accessories.
"I'm always surrounded by T-shirts," Kerri Rickard said. "I started looking at different ways to update shirts or use the scrap ones I have from test prints. T-shirt material is so versatile, and you can do so much with them."
Kerri's line of repurposed clothing for Pat-t-Shirt is called "Kerrilicious." The inspiration behind this line was Rickard's love for the indie look.
"I really love pin-up / rocker / Bohemian clothing, but had a hard time finding items in my size, since there aren't many places to shop for bigger cool clothing in the area," Kerri Rickard said. "So, I started making items for myself and friends."
Kerri Rickard will take any ordinary piece of clothing and reinvent it.
"The options are endless," she said. "One example would be how I take a basic women's cardigan and stitch on screen prints that I make of swallows, sugar skulls, or brass knuckles on both sides of the cardigan. Then I add some beading to them making one cute pin-up cardigan. These are all one-of-a-kind."
Katelyn Bowden models some of Rickard's creations.
"I think she has a good eye for creating clothes that people can actually wear," Bowden said. "Kerri creates clothes that everyone can wear, and it's recycled and affordable."
Bowden helped Rickard direct a recent photo shoot at the Niles City Pool in Waddell Park.
"The photo shoot at the Niles City Pool was a blast," Bowden said. "We got to shoot a lot of unique photos of all of us diving off the diving boards wearing Kerri's clothes. It was like a party, like a girls' day out."
Rickard keeps up with current trends through books and magazines. But if she desires a particular piece of clothing, she makes it for herself.
"This summer, the cut-out shirts are on trend," Rickard said. ''I went home, made one for myself and wore it out. Then the next thing I know, I'm making them for friends. The cut-out skull and spine backs are really hot cover ups for working out or to wear at the poolside. I love those and the halters for summer."
In addition to word-of-mouth, Rickard often uses social media to promote her designs.
"Watching people post on social media, 'I have to have that!' or 'I love it, and must have it,' as soon as I post a new item is exciting," she said.
Erin Turek-Yale was one of Rickard's models for a photo shoot.
"I have modeled for Kerri in downtown Warren at Dave Grohl Alley," Turek-Yale said. "She put those photos in her portfolio and these photos got her into the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts.
''She is so talented. Her clothes are so custom, and each piece is completely different. If I had an idea for a dress or a shirt, she could make it happen."
"It's always luck of the find," Rickard said. "Some items I dye, weave, make into halters, skirts, cut-out shirts. It's a lot of fun. I love what I'm doing."
Kerri Rickard said that her main objective is to have pieces from her line of repurposed clothing, "Kerrilicious," to be selected by eclectic clothing retail companies such as Hot Topic, Torrid, Forever 21, Lucky and H&M.
"My super fantastic goal would be to show a company, like Hot Topic, what can be done with clothing that didn't sell in their retail stores," Rickard said. "Let me have a free rein with some of those items, I'll repurpose them, and then send it back to the stores as a repurposed couture line. I'd love to see more stores repurpose. I think it would generate a lot of revenue and attention."
But even as she plans for the future, Rickard doesn't forget her roots.
"I am a workaholic, and Kerri grew up around that," Pat Rickard said. "I attended classes at Youngstown State University and I built this business to support my family. It was the only way I could go to school for art."
"While I'm screen printing anything, I think of how hard my parents worked to build Pat-t-Shirt from the '70s to now," Rickard said. "I'm very proud to be a second generation screen printer. I'm very grateful to my mom for providing everything to foster my creativity. I'm a very lucky daughter."
She also considers herself lucky to be doing what she loves.
"It really allows me to use so much of what I learned from my family, from home economics class and street style, all together," Rickard said. "I am more or less always learning."