native cleveland, a locals-only clothing shop, opened in collinwood

Many a native Clevelander wears his or her hometown pride on their sleeve. Now, a new shop in North Collinwood’s Waterloo Arts District is helping them do that in style.

In recent years, the T-shirt, once a ubiquitous symbol of hometown or team pride, has been transformed into a hip, ironic fashion statement. Nowadays, cheeky tees celebrate a city’s attributes, quirky mistakes and even inferiority complexes. (Witness the proliferation of Cleveland T-shirts referencing the now-infamous 1969 Cuyahoga River fire.)

Native Cleveland, a new store that opened in December at 15813 Waterloo Road, aims to help shoppers find the perfect threads to celebrate their unique brand of Cleveland and Ohio pride. Some of the tees the shop sells include the classic Cleveland — You Gotta Be Tough, CLE Clothing Company’s Elliot Ness for Mayor, and funky tees with Hello, Cleveland in bubble letters.

The T-shirts all have local themes, and most are designed and made in Northeast Ohio. The store owners decided to locate in the up-and-coming Waterloo Arts District after having success selling their wares at that neighborhood’s annual summer festival.

In addition to shirts, the store also sells quirky “Ohio” bags, metal fish necklaces, and posters that read, “Erie: A lake so great it is what legends are made of.” A selection of locally themed buttons and stickers are also available.

Some ethnic Clevelanders get a two-for-one shout out, as in the case of shirts that feature an outline of Slovenia with “Cleveland” printed at the top, a reference to our huge Slovenian community (the largest population of Slovenes outside of Slovenia).

Most adult shirts at Native Cleveland are in the $20 to 25 range.

Fresh Water Cleveland

7/28/11

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