Students create surf clothing company inspired by Western films

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Case Anderson, CSUF student and co-founder of Seager Co., showcases the back of a t-shirt from the Western surf company.  Graham McTague / Daily Titan
Case Anderson, CSUF student and co-founder of Seager Co., showcases the back of a black t-shirt from the clothing company.
Graham McTague / Daily Titan

Entering college as a business management major, Case Anderson never saw a future in the clothing industry in his horizon until a shared interest among friends sparked an idea into motion.

“I never saw myself starting a clothing company, but when I was starting it I knew it was perfect,” Anderson said.

Anderson, a senior at Cal State Fullerton, spent his youth in Mission Viejo where he met his best friend Elliott Shaw in sixth grade. The two shared an interest in old Western films.

“(Elliott) more than me for sure,” Anderson said. “We’re not cowboys, we’re beach kids. We just always had a passion for old Westerns.”

After high school, Shaw went to UC San Diego to study international studies and business. It was there that he met Mattson Smith, who pitched the idea to combine their interests and start a Western-themed surf company. The two brought Anderson and his friend Calvin Muusse to San Diego where they began to collaborate on a brand.

“It was kind of just a dream at that point,” Shaw said. “We didn’t really know where to go. We kind of just all put our heads together and have been chugging along ever since.”

The four agreed that they liked the quiet conservative vibe of the old Western theme, pulling inspiration from iconic figures such as John Wayne and Johnny Cash. They also wanted to incorporate contemporary surf culture based on adventure and the outdoors.

“We kind of just sat down together and started spitting ideas; we all had our own little connections that we could take to the table,” Shaw said. “We’ve kind of just taken each step one by one, all together, and really one thing led to another.”

It was about a year and a half ago when Anderson, Shaw, Smith and Muusse sat down together for the first time to collaborate and collectively decide on what would become Seager Co., the company’s title.

“We just were thinking of random things,” Anderson said. “Like, ‘how can we just make a name that fits what we’re trying to do?’ and ended up just coming up with something similar to Seager and making it half ‘ocean’ and half ‘grr’ like ‘grit.’ Once we heard ‘seager,’ we just knew we loved it.”

The four began printing shirts, which featured co-founder Muusse’s artwork, on a friend’s screen press.

“(Calvin) is our creative direction in general. He’ll do our photos, our art. He really does everything,” Anderson said.

In terms of style, Anderson describes Seager Co. as a timeless workwear brand that’s gritty and authentic.

The four have launched a website debuting their first collection. Some items from the collection are sold in Laguna Beach at Thalia Surf Shop, a store that Anderson says has been the company’s “bread and butter.”

“We grew up around Thalia,” Anderson said. “That was always our favorite surf shop where we’d go in and buy stuff that we were inspired by. It’s like a unique, small, weird and wacky shop.”

Recently Seager Co. threw a launch party where they were surrounded by supportive friends and family.

“They have such a good group of guys that are able to all work together,” said Ryan Valasek, a close friend of the company and senior at CSUF. “They have all these connections. It’s all just intertwining, setting them up for success and to keep launching more products and to grow naturally,” Valasek said.

Although success may be in the future for Anderson and his fellow co-founders, Seager Co. was never about making money; it was only about creating pieces they wanted to wear.

“We want it to be affordable. We want it to be for the worker, the common man, the surfer,” Shaw said. “Someone who’s definitely not able to spend a lot of money, but we want it to be as high quality as possible.”

While Seager Co. certainly has plenty of brand ideas in mind for the future, its biggest goal is finding a way to give back to the community.

“When we started this company, we originally wanted to do it for philanthropy,” Anderson said.

Though he admits the company isn’t quite there yet, Anderson says once Seager Co. establishes sufficient funds, they plan to host events inspiring others to get involved with nonprofit organizations.

In the future, Seager Co. hopes to eventually expand beyond the world of local surf shops.

“We don’t want to be just a shirt company,” Anderson said. “We want to be an outdoor company also. We want to be selling in places like REI.”

Even with the success of their brand launch just four months ago, Seager Co. is in no rush to fast forward its goals.

“We’re kind of just working on each product independently and making sure it’s exactly how we want it and as high quality as we can get,” Shaw said. “We definitely take a lot of time when it comes to creating the product because we test it, we sample it. So we’re trying to find all of those requirements and it takes some time.”

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