301 AD supports Armenia Fund’s COVID-19 relief efforts

In early 2020, Alex Boghossian, Arno Avasapian, and Emin Gharibi, all recent college graduates and residents of Glendale, California, were ready to start their own apparel brand, 301 AD. The company’s name was a tribute to the year Armenia had adopted Christianity as its official religion. Inspired by the rich history of their cultural heritage, the young co-founders envisioned creating affordable, fashion-forward products that would reflect the timeless Armenian values of resilience, faith, and survival.

301 AD was set to launch in March 2020. But then, all of a sudden it seemed, the whole world was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The birth of the start-up had to wait — not for too long, though. A month later, Boghossian, Avasapian, and Gharibi launched 301 AD with the help of a Crowdfunding campaign. Central to the campaign was the young men’s pledge to donate 33 percent of all proceeds to Armenia Fund USA, benefiting the organization’s continued efforts to provide COVID-19 relief to Armenia. The campaign was a resounding success, and everyone who contributed to it received one of the company’s signature T-shirt or hoodie bundles, as a token of the co-founders’ appreciation.

The following is our Q & A with Alex Boghossian, Arno Avasapian, and Emin Gharibi.

Q – Why did you pick Armenia Fund USA as the organization that would benefit from your Crowdfunding campaign?

A – Philanthropy has and will always remain at the top of our priorities as a company. Going into our Crowdfunding campaign as three Armenian founder-partners, we wanted to encourage local communities and individuals to not only help start up our brand, but to equally help make a positive difference in Armenia’s ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic — which we had promised from the outset by pledging to donate to Armenia Fund 33 percent of each contribution made during the campaign.

It was already evident to us that Armenia Fund is the largest humanitarian organization serving the needs of Armenia and Artsakh, in addition to the fact that it thoroughly focuses on improving the twin republics’ sectors of public health and medicine. Moreover, Armenia Fund has always distinguished itself with its core values of accountability, transparency, and integrity, by fostering pan-Armenian unity, and by striving to help build a better future for our mother nation. All these attributes embody exactly what 301 AD stands for – resilience, faith, and survival.

For these reasons, we picked Armenia Fund as the organization that would benefit from our Crowdfunding campaign, with the highest hopes of helping our brothers and sisters throughout the entire process. In the end, a total of $8,000 was donated to Armenia Fund to provide COVID-19 relief efforts for Armenia and Artsakh. This is an accomplishment we will always be proud of and grateful for as a start-up brand.

Q – As you have stated that 301 AD will continue to engage in community giveback, what types of programs do you see your company supporting in the future?

A – We will always make our best efforts to collaborate with whatever company and/or program that truly aims to serve the greater good of humanity in one way or another. This would include not just initiatives revolving around Armenians or the nation of Armenia in particular. As a matter of fact, we are currently delving deep into outside resources and planning to help independent Black Lives Matter organizations with the next release of 301 AD apparel. More specifically, we plan to base most of our philanthropy efforts around orphanages, developing countries, public health, education, and more.

Q – Your initial apparel line includes T-shirts and hoodies featuring images of the Holy Dove and Noravank Monastery. What would some of your future designs look like?

A – Our brand name references the date Armenia adopted Christianity as its official religion. Therefore, we based our initial apparel around that distinct concept, which is why we featured images of the Holy Dove and Noravank Monastery. Of course, we will continue to incorporate Christian concepts into our designs, whether they be unique representations of other famous churches, crosses, or patron saints like Gregory the Illuminator. But our main goal is to create new approaches to modern fashion through powerful ideas and expressions that embody concepts of resilience, faith, and survival —our mantra.

Toward this goal, we will generally tap into esoteric and ancient Armenian imagery that deals with aesthetic appreciation. This includes, but is not limited to, designs of famous gods/goddesses/statues like Anahit, Mother Armenia, Sasuntsi Davit, and other legendary figures like Mesrop Mashtots, Sergei Parajanov, Komitas, and more. In addition, we will incorporate the legendary Evil Eye motif as well as geometric patterns, animals, fruits, manuscripts, etc.

Q – How would you describe 301 AD’s bond, physical or symbolic, with Armenia?

A – At 301 AD, we feel personally connected to Armenia in several ways, whether based on visits to Yerevan that have been nothing short of awe-inspiring, philanthropy efforts from the past through other companies of ours, or even climbing to the summit of Mount Ararat on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Moreover, as 23-year-old Armenians living in Glendale, California, we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to build numerous bonds since birth between families and friends through tight-knit organizations we’ve been part of over the years. These have ranged from Armenian schools to Homenetmen Scouts and sports programs, AYF camps, and Armenian Student Associations, throughout high school and college.

As recent college graduates transitioning into the next chapter of our lives, we feel that it’s only right to utilize our personal-professional networks and do everything in our power to live up to the utmost standards as a fashion brand that’s totally under the creative direction of Armenians. We vow to fulfill our promises as a brand in the years to come in order to create something special from our family to yours, all while helping bring light to Armenia.