The rising NYU freshman’s “By Sebastian Caillat” clothing line has gained the attention of top footballers around the globe.
Soccer has long been the world’s most popular sport, and thanks in large part to Millennials and Gen Z, America is embracing the Beautiful Game more than ever before. With that in mind, rising NYU freshman Sebastian Caillat is doing his part to lift up the sport in the US by celebrating its culture with exclusive, vintage throwback t-shirts honoring soccer’s 1980s and 90s eras.
His vintage-inspired football streetwear brand, By Sebastian Caillat, has sold over 300 shirts over the last five months, with exclusivity proving to be a key selling point.
The apparel line has garnered interest from notable footballers like Chelsea’s Calum Hudson-Odoi and US National Team players Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Bill Hamid, Deandre Yedlin, and Mark Mckenzie. As BSC continues to gain credibility and celebrity attention — rapper Yung Manny inquired about the Nigeria shirt — let’s take a look back at how this young entrepreneur got started.
Name: Sebastian Caillat
Hometown: Washington, DC
College: New York University
Caillat describes his lane as one that combines both apparel design and media within the soccer space. He’s been working to bridge the gap between those two areas since middle school, when he began creating graphics and multimedia projects for his friends who played team sports competitively. Eventually, he perfected his process enough to send in his portfolio to hometown MLS club DC United at the beginning of his senior year of high school.
His ambition paid off.
DC United recruited Caillat as an intern, making him the first-ever high school student to intern for the club’s creative team. Within a few months, they promoted him to a full-time creative employee, giving him his big break into the soccer world .
And with that opportunity came realization that the production of soccer content in America was generally lacking something fundamental.
“I realized how there was so little content that was actually made to be cool,” he told Boardroom University.
“Everything that was being made was very black-and-white. Cookie-cutter. Nothing was innovative or creative or even relatable at all. And so it sort of became something I was always frustrated by or always thinking about ‘oh, yeah, the club put this out but it could’ve been done so much better,'” he said.
Following his stint with DCU, Caillat decided to branch out and create something new that he could really own and cultivate. Inspired by what he saw many NBA players wearing in the pregame tunnel, the idea was to forge a clothing brand that would infuse swagger into a sport with a vintage twist — something he saw American soccer to be severely lacking.
Sensing that untapped potential, hip hop-style t-shirts were among Caillat’s very first ideas.
“I put out four at first and didn’t really think much of it, wasn’t really sure if they would [sell]. It was my first time creating clothing — and they sold out in about three days on the IG page I put out,” he said. “So I realized I’d created something there was a demand for.”
BSC’s second drop was inspired by the Premier League, and includes a Diego Maradona tee marking the worldwide superstar’s recent passing shortly before the release. Caillat saw that the shirts were creating legitimate demand, including from big-time professional players, so he upped his marketing game even further, securing face time with major soccer media brands like Club11, Copa90, and Black Arrow FC.
Caillat specifically credits his girlfriend, Noor Saleem, and close friend Dennis Perkins with helping the BSC forge its identity. “Noor is the creative director of the brand. From researching concepts to ad strategies to connecting with other emerging brands in the space, as well as help with the design process, Noor’s eye has been invaluable,” he said. “Dennis, like Noor, is an extremely creative person with an amazing eye for capturing content, and his skill as a photographer, videographer, and content editor has been very helpful to growing the brand.”
With its hype train gaining steam and its IG account piling up followers, BSC’s next drop was a three-piece shirt set celebrating Africa’s soccer legends, including Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, and a plethora of iconic Nigerian players. Having sold out almost immediately and gaining strong interest from even more pro footballers and leagues around the world, including the NWSL, Caillat decided to capitalize on his growing success by pitching a video series to Bleacher Report Football content creator Elischa Edouard.
Caillat’s premise is simple: “Bring on famous people in the soccer world, whether it be player, coach, or even a superfan that’s gained notoriety, like the “Suns in Four” guy. Talk to them about a moment — a tournament, a game — in a sit-down/talk show type format, and at the end of it, present them with their very own vintage-inspired shirt based on the topic we’d just talked about.”
For example, if a player like Manchester United’s Paul Pogba was on the show and he said his idol was Maradona, at the end of the episode, he’d get an all-new vintage shirt featuring el Pibe de Oro accompanied by a release of 20-30 replicas to the public.
“Not only do you create a show that features famous players and personalities that people want to watch, but attached to the show is a limited-edition product that becomes in demand because it’s connected to a famous person.”
While this year-long adventure has handed Caillat a stack of memorable experiences and moments, the struggles of a young entrepreneur are real. Behind-the-scenes tasks like time management, packaging orders by himself, and constantly trying to reinvent and stay authentic have emerged as real obstacles along the way.
Still just 17 years old, Caillat uses these challenges as opportunities to help himself level up prepare for the next one — some day, he hopes to get a custom shirt to his two dream clients, Pogba and Neymar.
And though BSC may be a global brand, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
“DC is full of creative kids that helped me and just want the best for me,” he said.