Henry Yenter | Designing Clothes with Art in Mind
Henry Yenter doesn’t own a clothing brand. Instead, the 20-year-old designer refers to his merchandise as art on clothes.
“I WANT PEOPLE TO LOOK AT MY SHIRT AND THINK OF IT THE SAME WAY THEY THINK OF A PAINTING. IT’S ART, IT’S JUST ON A T-SHIRT.”
Henry is the founder of Ambrose. If not a clothing brand, it is a creative project of the young entrepreneur, who was part of the team that opened the Adidas Originals flagship store in Chicago in 2018. He found his love for streetwear in high school, when he used to wait in line for shoe releases at Chicago’s Saint Alfred boutique.
“Back when everyone was wearing Jordans, I was the first one in my high school to rock Adidas. People talked shit to me, then a week later they were wearing them too.”
The son of a well-known Chicago tattoo artist Mario Desa and a painter, it’s no surprise that creativity flows through Henry’s veins. Both his parents encouraged his exploration within the arts at an early age, buying him sketchbooks and markers, and taking him to museums.
“Since I’ve been alive, I was always drawing. My mom would paint for fun around the house, and my dad was a graffiti artist, but he stopped when my mom got pregnant. He has, however, been tattooing my whole life.”
Reflecting on what his mom and dad taught him, Henry feels grateful for having role models he can look up to. He credits the values he lives by today to his mom. “She taught me how to be a good person.”
When it comes to entrepreneurship, his dad pushes him to step out of his comfort zone and think differently. “I remember once he told me: never blame your tools. You’re always the one who’s in charge of what you do and how you do it.”
In 2018, Henry made his first t-shirt for Ambrose. Less than a year later, his designs are already being sold at a local boutique TWENTYFORTYEIGHT. In addition to that, during summer of this year, Ambrose was featured in “Through the Lens: Chicago,” an event hosted by Modern Notoriety and adidas Originals.
“To be asked and to be in it was really crazy. I kept asking myself why me, I haven’t even done anything. This was a big achievement.”
Today, Henry laughs as he elaborates on his design process. “Steven hates it, that’s how I know it’s good,” he says of his best friend and photographer Steven Nunez, who takes all the photos for Ambrose. Eventually he wants Ambrose to grow even bigger and have Steven on board as a full-time team member. Yet even with only a handful of releases to date, the artistic vision behind Ambrose as well as Henry’s unique attitude towards creation are what’s making him stand out.