Under The Graphic Influence

David Jon Acosta refuses to be referred to as a “fashion designer,” which is certainly queer for someone who spent their life savings starting a t-shirt company, Gold Saturn. Acosta explains, “I don’t consider myself a fashion designer. I love fashion, yes, but I’m not into construction. I don’t like to sew. I like graphic design, so I put my two loves together. I consider myself a graphic designer, because it’s the graphic that makes the shirt special.”

And judging by the graphics, you can be sure there’s more to the story…

First and foremost, Acosta’s a mere twenty-two years old and began Gold Saturn while still studying at the Art Institute in Miami: “I was an architect’s personal assistant, and he was always in Dubai, so I would sit at the office, bored, and doodle on photoshop. That’s when the whole pills thing came out.” By “the whole pills thing,” Acosta means “Prescription for Peace,” his first full-fledged fashion creation. The shirt became so popular on AIM’s campus that Acosta decided to throw in the architectural towel and start his own t-shirt company.

Acosta counts his hometown of Miami and the Super Mario Brothers, among other things, for influencing his “tongue in chic” aesthetic, which includes amicable mushrooms, marijuana leaves and the aforementioned pill-laden peace sign. Despite the implicit drug references, Acosta’s quick to point out that he’s not pushing an agenda. Or even a message: “I don’t think about the message when creating the tees. Once the designs are made, people tend to interpret them in their own way, which is a beautiful thing.” More than anything else, however, Acosta credits his first car, a gold Saturn, for inspiring his fledging design house: “I had the best times of my life in that car, so I wanted my t-shirts to reflect that free spirit attitude.”

A self-described “modern hippie” intent on self-determination, Acosta refused to take investors on for his start-up. It would be his business and his alone: “I haven’t had any help from anybody, I haven’t had any investors, which is really hard, but I had offers, but my whole thing is that if it’s a success, I want it to be on my end and, if it’s a failure, I don’t want anyone to have to deal with it. I want it to be my success or my failure. No one else’s.” Though he won’t specify the numbers, Acosta maintains his lines consistently sell-out and hopes to start designing accessories. Whatever happens, Acosta’s sure of one thing: “My t-shirts are conversation starters.”