At the university campus of Dresden and in the Neustadt borough you can see more and more students and graduates in coloured shirts with special prints: Goethe’s color circle, physical wavelengths, John Lock’s social contract or Darwin’s theory of evolution are only some of the scientifc motives, which Steve Kupke, doctor of physics, prints on sustainable produced basic shirts and long sleeves. Since December 2015 the products of his label are available at his own store at Jahnstraße. In our interview Steve reveals how he hit on the idea to combine fashion and science.
Steve, how did you have the idea to print T-Shirts with scientific motives?
I have studied physics at the university of technology in Dresden and already during the studies some witty “nerd shirts” with quantum equations and similar ran into me. However, I rather wanted to have something more discreet, which has a connection to my subject though, but not everybody should recognize me immediately as a physicist. I wanted to create a shirt, which looks simply good at frst sight and just with one more look you can put out the meaning behind it.
How have you founded your label?
I am an absolute autodidact and have taught everything myself. I always had an artistic attitude and a good eye for everything that concerns design. I created the frst motive for my girlfriend. She studies biology and I have developed the Darwin motive with the fnches for her. Meanwhile it is one of the most popular designs. At the same time I have written my doctoral thesis. Directly after my defense I have founded my label Unipolar.
What’s the meaning of your label?
I have searched a name, which has a relation to the university because I wanted to appeal to the students and graduates who are interested in science. So “university” should be a part of it. I used the word “unipolar” very often in my doctoral thesis. Although I have misapplied it in its real sense and my second proofreader has criticised it, I have decided to name my label this way because it perfectly describes it. In addition I also have a personal relation to it.
How many motives are there up to now and how do they originate?
Up to now there are 14 motives from 12 subjects, for example, physics, biology, mathematics and mechanical engineering, but also music, philosophy and political science. I often get advice from my friends, who study different subjects or I meet up with professors who give me an insight into their feld. I create the motives with different graphic programs and print them with the silk screen printing on textile foil. Then the motives get fxed with pressure and heat with a textile press.
Since when does your store in Dresden exist?
The store exists since December 2015. Actually it was planned only as a pop-up shop till the end of January, but it ran so well that we prolonged till the end of March. Then we had to make a fnal decision and because the concept was accepted excellently, we are now here permanently. Beside my label other sustainable products are sold at the shop, for example bamboo dishes, individual gift ideas and cookbooks. Some of them also come from other enterprises of Dresden.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment different cooperations with universities and research facilities are planned. Moreover, we are sponsoring the Science Slam and provide the prices. And of course other motives for new subjects are planned. Many drafts are waiting to get completed.
Do you have an advice for other young founders?
Hang on and do not sell under value!