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Alec Huth ’22: The Face Behind Fruit Face

Founder of the San Francisco-based clothing brand Fruit Face, Alec Huth ’22, shares her experience operating an organic, sustainable, and small batch clothing business.

June 4, 2024
by Josephine Thornton
Alec Huth shows off her clothing shop's designs in San Francisco. Alec Huth ’22 shows off her designs in San Francisco. / Mahayla Rheanna

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s just always been in my brain.” Alec Huth ’22 always planned on having her own business, even as a child. During her youth, she had lemonade stands and painted seashells to sell to tourists in her Central Coast hometown.  

Alec Huth poses in front of the Bancroft Library wearing her graduation regalia.
After Huth was rejected from Haas, she adopted a “rejection is redirection” approach and created her own major in sustainable business and design. / Leu San

At Cal, Huth initially dreamed of joining the Haas School of Business, but after rejection, she did the next best thing—creating her own interdisciplinary major focusing on sustainable business and design. As a college senior, Huth began experimenting with silk-screen printing and embroidery. “I didn’t know what I was doing yet, but I knew it was going to be something in fashion.”

With a foundation in her UC Berkeley education, Huth’s entrepreneurship has found success. As a senior, on a whim, Huth took a course called Designing Your Life, a title that piqued her interest, taught by Haas professor Elizabeth Kovats. “It was just a two or three-unit course so I didn’t expect to get much out of it, but she was the best professor ever,” said Huth. Throughout the semester, students planned their dream lives.

From there, Fruit Face was born. 

Fruit Face is a San Francisco-based organic and sustainably sourced women’s clothing line known for its whimsical and playful designs, often featuring strawberries and a “coastal cowgirl” aesthetic. During her senior year, Huth spent months developing a name. “I wanted something out of the box. I literally had close to a hundred names on a list. When I narrowed it down, Fruit Face was the one that stuck,” she explained. “It makes people think, ‘What is this?’”

Huth began by buying wholesale t-shirts, just twenty at a time, experimenting with silk-screen printing, and sharing her creations with family and friends. One of her first pieces, dubbed the ‘I <3 SF’ shirt, features a strawberry instead of a heart symbol. “It was just a funny shirt I made for myself after I moved to the city. I didn’t expect them to catch on. But once it did, I was silk-screen printing 24/7 in my apartment. My couch was covered in shirts, my dining room table was covered in shirts, literally every square foot in my apartment was covered in shirts,” said Huth, laughing. “That’s when I realized I needed to outsource, which was kind of sad at first. This is my baby.” She established a relationship with a local factory in San Francisco.

Alec Huth poses in her apartment while taking pictures of her shirt designs.
Fruit Face’s first products were made in Huth’s apartment, now she shoots content for Fruit Face in her apartment. / Courtesy of Alec Huth

Sustainability is central to Fruit Face. When Huth started she was using deadstock cotton, the fabric leftover from other companies, which otherwise would be burned or thrown away. Despite the ethical bonuses, the quality was inconsistent and often wouldn’t pass quality control, due to rips or holes in the material. 

“Sometimes the fabric would be super soft, sometimes it’d be super rough. And, I wanted something consistent. The next best thing was organic fabric. They don’t use any weird chemicals and it’s sustainably grown.”

Despite the switch, Huth held onto the original deadstock cotton shirts that didn’t make the cut and plans to create something new from them. “I didn’t want to throw them away. So I’ve collected them.” Huth will launch a sample sale in June with these one-of-a-kind patched garments.

“Sustainability was always something that I wanted to incorporate into the business.”

Alec Huth ’22

“I can try and make the supply chain as sustainable as possible, but there’s still going to be flawed products, and it’s not sustainable to just throw them away. Sustainability was always something that I wanted to incorporate into the business.”

Alec Huth shows off her shop's designs on a trolley car.
UC Berkeley’s Designing Your Life course inspired Huth to pursue her creative business venture rather than a typical nine-to-five career. / Mahayla Rheanna

Now Huth is planning her next collection, a creative labor of love. “Probably the most fun part of my job is coming up with all the designs. I love building mood boards and pulling random inspiration from things.” Although Huth has made a name for herself with the western-inspired, fruit-focused theme, she plans to do something new for her next collection launching this summer, citing “summer nostalgia” as her inspiration. 

Since creating Fruit Face, Huth has slowly built local brand awareness. Fruit Face can be found at local craft fairs including West Coast Craft and Renegade Craft, at online clothing site Lisa Says Gah, several vintage clothing shops, and even pop-up events at stores like Madewell. Huth operates her own business full-time, recently hiring packing and store distribution assistants and expanding to pop-up markets in Los Angeles and New York City.

“I made this whole plan of starting my business and just last week I was looking back at it and I passed steps one and two and was thinking to myself ‘I literally did those.’”

Alec Huth ’22

Huth held onto her life plan from her senior year course, Designing Your Life. Upon reflection, she’s made quite a bit of progress. “I made this whole plan of starting my business and just last week I was looking back at it and I passed steps one and two, and was thinking to myself: ‘I literally did those.’ That course pushed me to realize that I didn’t have to have a normal nine-to-five, that I can explore my creative side and do whatever I want with my life.”

Visit Fruit Face online or follow Fruit Face on Instagram.