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Alumni design for parade

by Stephanie Michaud / Beacon Correspondent • November 21, 2013

Matt Lowe (left) and Eric Wahl (right) show off their produce in Piano Row.
Matt Lowe (left) and Eric Wahl (right) show off their produce in Piano Row.

Kids watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade may dream of appearing on a float someday.  Even though they’ll still be watching from their couches, Matt Lowe and Eric Wahl will see something familiar: their athletic apparel designs worn by the parade’s jump roping team.

Lowe, a recent visual and media arts graduate, and Wahl, a recent marketing communication graduate, operate Quiyk, an athletic apparel company. This summer, the pair was asked to produce 212 uniforms for Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade, a national jump rope group organized by the Heartbeats Jump Rope Team in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Parade is held every year in New York City on Thanksgiving Day morning. It was started in 1924 and is sponsored by Macy’s. 

Lowe and Wahl said they both played for Emerson’s Quidditch team their freshman year, which inspired them to launch Quiyk in the summer of 2010 after discussing the lack of proper uniforms available.

Greg Evans, choreography consultant and graphic designer for J.U.M.P., contacted Nadav Swarttz, the director of new business for Quiyk, last July and asked him if the group would be interested in designing jerseys for the team. Lowe and Wahl said they thought the email was a joke at first, and almost didn’t respond.  

“We responded, though, because we figured it couldn’t hurt and we wanted to enthuse him,” said Lowe. “But it turns out he was a legit guy and the offer wasn’t a joke.”

Evans said he first learned about Quiyk through design blogs.

“I remember being intrigued by the fact that they were a group of young guys looking to improve the image and quality of play for their alternative sport, Quidditch,” wrote Evans in an email to the Beacon. “Plus, they had a clean, well-developed aesthetic that presented them in a progressive and professional way.”

The team sent over some samples of their jerseys to Evans, and he liked them more than any other company because of the quality of the materials they used, according to Lowe.

“We got the job and have been in and out of Los Angeles ever since working on production,” said Lowe. “[The jerseys] are completed now and are being shipped to New York this week for distribution.”

The funding for Quiyk’s production is split into two different steps, according to Wahl. When the company receives a new order, a percentage of the order is paid up front, which helps pays for the materials and secures the manufacturing order. The rest of the payment comes after the product has been completed, shipped off, and distributed, he said.

Lowe and Wahl declined to comment on exactly how much they are being paid for the job. 

“This is not our main source of money,” said Lowe. “This definitely doesn’t allow us to quit our day jobs, but it’s important for the growth of the company and a huge portfolio builder, so that’s why we continue to do it.”

Wahl said he doesn’t know when the jump roping team will be on air. 

“All I can say is wake up early on Thanksgiving and watch the parade so you can see everyone wearing them,” said Wahl.

Managing Editor Ryan Catalani, Quiyk’s web designer, did not edit this story.