By Zanna Shapiro

SFC junior Stefano Forte is building a name for himself with his new brand, Stef Etc.

“I really do owe it to St. Francis. I was in class when I thought of it,” he said.

“St. Francis opens up a lot of opportunities that other schools can’t.”

Forte referred to the student to professor ratio, and said that the brand idea came to him when he was in an art class with 15 people, because “it becomes YOUR lecture.”

In class, students learned about Arthur Danto’s definition of what art means.

Stefano disagreed with Danto’s philosophy.

He was not satisfied with Danto’s essentialism, and that’s when the phrase – and now the line for Forte’s fashion brand – am I art yet came to mind.

Am I art yet “is for everyone, but the target audience is for people who are aware of what’s going on in the world as well as in their own mind.”

A self-proclaimed Renaissance man, Stefano emphasized that am I art yet has a “philosophic back bone” and is geared towards “college students, people interested in street-wear.”

Forte entertained the idea for am I art yet for quite some time, but it wasn’t until he saw Virgil Abloh’s runway show that he was inspired to take action: “I thought, I could do that.”

He had some money saved up “for a rainy day,” but acknowledged that launching his own street-wear line would be “worth it”.

He launched the start up launched soon after, and said that “the clothes speak for themselves.”

Stef Etc merges his “love for fashion and philosophy” and said he is not going to limit himself.

“Stef Etc is Stef etcetera because it’s everything. I want to fully encompass every creative means at my disposal.”

He is a political science major with a minor in philosophy, and his post commencement plans include combining politics, philosophy, and fashion.

“If you push yourself, it’s amazing what the mind can do. It can expand in ways we don’t even know.”

“Confidence is key,” Stefano Forte said, “you have to believe in yourself…when you have confidence, people are willing to jump on board.”

Forte also gave credit to his family and friends:

“I’m blessed to have a group of friends that care and want to help…And I owe a lot to my mom. She’s been more than supportive. My dad too, but my mom really helped me.”

Forte said his mother infused her confidence in him, and genuinely wants her son to exceed what she’s done.

His advice for students is to “follow your inkling…when the world around you starts talking, you listen.”

And for the “young entrepreneurs – or anybody doing anything – there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance; arrogance is supreme insecurity, confidence is knowing that you need a little bit of luck.”

For more information, please visit www.stefetcbrand.com or go on the @stef_etc instagram page.

Photo credit: Oscar Naspud @suckces

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