Even though he is just 19, Indiana University sophomore Charles Zayed has a history of marketing and selling things. “In high school, I was the social chair, and I marketed football and basketball games,” Zayed says.  When he came to IU, it seemed natural for him to take a major in marketing and professional sales at the Kelley School of Business.

During his freshman year, he often got hungry at night, but snacks like pizza, he says, can be expensive and take a long time to arrive. “I still wanted hot food, so I ordered a quesadilla maker from Amazon,” Zayed says.  Soon he was making quesadillas for his roommate as well. Then, others on his dorm floor were interested, so he decided to sell quesadillas to them. Eventually word about the quesadillas got out, and students from other dorms started showing up at his door. A business was born. 

With that small success, Zayed says he started thinking about selling something that had more impact. That’s how his clothing line, Awful Cloth, came into being. “I wanted to sell something that made a statement,” Zayed says. “But I also wanted to sell something with brightness and positivity attached.”

If he was going for positivity, then why name his business Awful Cloth? Zayed says he thought it would attract attention. And, he says, the word “awful” can be interpreted as awe-inspiring or full of awe. “It’s about how people see you, it’s your perspective on life,” he says.

Zayed contacted a high school friend, Emmit Flynn, to help create the colorful look he wanted for his clothing line. Flynn, a sophomore at Fordham University in New York City, agreed to partner with Zayed and provide the colorful, hand-drawn images the clothing line features. 

Zayed wears Awful Cloth gear six days a week. It’s all about positivity, he says, which, for him, translates into bright colors. “I’m positive every day,” he says. “And I wouldn’t have a brand that I didn’t like wearing.”

To see the offerings from Awful Cloth, visit