Art You Can Wear

Meagan Schmoll didn't like the hoodies on the market, so she made her own

By Justin Franz

WHITEFISH — We all have a favorite hoodie. Sometimes it’s a worn-out one that we’ve had forever and, regardless of condition, is always comfortable, although not always stylish. Meagan Schmoll decided to change that.

One day in 2008, while Schmoll was living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and working at a blueprint shop, she was talking with a friend about hoodies. They both agreed that, while hoodies were perhaps the most comfortable piece of clothing, they rarely were stylish. More often than not they had a massive logo on them or some other less-than-tasteful design. So Schmoll went home and started to research screen-printing, and within a few months, she started Raskol Ink.

Schmoll, a native of California, was no stranger to the arts; she went to school for graphic design in Spokane before moving to Jackson Hole. Since its launch, the business has grown and continues to flourish in Whitefish, Schmoll’s new home.

“I could never find a hoodie that I liked, so I did what anyone would do and started a hoodie company,” she said.

Schmoll said she liked the idea of making designer hoodies because they’re a comfortable and widely beloved.

“I want people to feel good when they wear my products,” she said.

Unlike some hoodies that feature huge logos, Schmoll’s garments feature animals or scenes of mountains and nature. She starts with a drawing on paper, and once it is to her liking, she retraces it on clear plastic. It’s then “exposed” onto a screen using a light box. After that, she places the screen over a fresh sweatshirt and applies ink through the design. The inks are durable enough that they’ll never wash out. Schmoll gets inspiration for her designs from a variety of sources.

“I’m inspired by all sorts of stuff,” she said. “Sometimes nature, sometimes books and sometimes just conversations with friends.”

The hoodies have been so popular that some people say they never get rid of theirs and wear them until they’re completely worn out.

“That’s always nice to hear,” she said.

In addition to hoodies, Schmoll also does screen printing on onesies for babies. People have asked Schmoll to do T-shirts and other types of clothing, but she said she has chosen to focus on hoodies and onesies because she doesn’t want to spread herself too thin. She sells most of her hoodies on Etsy, although she can also do custom runs of specific designs, colors and sizes. The baby onesies sell for $24 each, while the hoodies are anywhere from $45 to $58.

Screen printing isn’t Schmoll’s only art medium. She recently started experimenting with encaustic painting, an art form involving colored beeswax. She’s optimistic that she might even be able to use it to make additional designer hoodies.

Schmoll said what she loves most about her art is that it’s so accessible.

“People are more inclined to buy a hoodie than a piece of art that’s stuck on the wall,” she said. “It’s functional art.”

To see some of Schmoll’s hoodies, visit her Etsy store.