Matthew Barletta couldn’t seem to follow the uniform code when he was a student at Bishop Ludden Junior-Senior High School.
While all the students were expected to wear the same uniform, Barletta would distinguish himself with bracelets, colorful undershirts and different dress shoes.
Barletta would get sent to detention for these dress code violations, but to him that was no problem. He was expressing who he was.
“I feel like that’s where I found out I loved fashion and I loved being different,” said Barletta, who is now 20 years old. “Because we’re constructed to wear the same thing every day and do the same thing every day and I didn’t think that was right. I didn’t want to do that.”
Since high school, Barletta’s love for fashion design has continued, and he is now running his own clothing brand based in Syracuse. Barletta began working on his own clothing brand, Pure Clothing, in March 2018 and left Ithaca College in the first semester of his sophomore year to focus his time and energy on his brand.
“I’d rather chase my dreams than live out someone else’s,” Barletta said.
Jacob Furco, who has known Barletta since middle school and was a student with him at Ithaca College, said Barletta influenced his decision to leave college and pursue a career in music, because Furco was inspired by Barletta’s ambition and ability to make his dreams a reality. Barletta is currently helping Furco create his own merchandise for Furco’s music career.
“I think Matt inspired me in some ways because Matt’s constantly on the grind,” Furco said. “I’ve never seen him stop. He’s constantly working.”
Pure Clothing includes a variety of products including hoodies, t-shirts, crewnecks and hats. All of the products feature the word “pure” with variations on the design. Barletta said he initially came up with the idea to use the word for the name of the clothing brand when he was 14 years old, and at the time just thought it was an interesting word. However, over time the word has come to mean much more to Barletta, and also symbolizes a way of living.
One of the product in Barletta’s clothing line features the words: Pure: being a honest and authentic person to yourself. Feeling free with your own thoughts. An absolute, simple and clear state of mind. That and nothing else.
“I want to make a difference in people’s lives,” Barletta said. “I want to encourage people to be themselves, to bring something positive to the world around them.”
Barletta said he has been approached by many kids who have said the clothing line means a lot to them because it encourages people to be themselves.
“That is so valuable to me,” he said. “That is why I started this brand, to make kids just feel special.”
Barletta said he primarily sells his clothing through his website, although he also has some of his products in Ambition Upstate on West Fayette Street.
“I’m trying to tell these kids that it’s okay that you might feel lost or you’re not happy or its okay that things aren’t going your way,” Barletta said. “But just be yourself and everything will be okay.”