Last spring I was in a pub in western Ireland with some other Americans and an Israeli. Since fashion has been relatively homogenized you might not guess we weren’t Irish. EXCEPT…one of the girls was wearing a sharp green IRELAND sweatshirt. She bought a billboard that said I am NOT IRISH. The Irish patrons picked her out immediately and had a great time teasing her.
We talked about it for a bit at our table afterward. Of course. Location merchandise is for tourists. Universally, people do not buy non-sports merchandise of the place where they live. You know who’s never worn an IHeartNY T-shirt? Some one from New York City. If you’re wearing a Key West baseball cap, it means you went on vacation there, you’re not from Key West. We all laughed for a minute and agreed that was true for everywhere. It took a minute before it hit me like a ton of bricks.
There’s got to be an exception, I thought. Hmmm, where are all the places I’ve been? Oh yeah! The city I’ve lived in my whole life,”
What a bunch of self promotional hacks we are. I wear T-shirts that just say “Buffalo, NY”. There are entire companies based around who can say they’re from Buffalo more cleverly. Which city is home to Kellogg’s? I’m not going to look it up but I bet there’s no “My City smells like Rice Crispies” t shirt. Why? Because we’re the only ones who don’t care that nobody else gets it. I’m not just talking about ex-pats. People who live in the city, self included, buy and wear clothing, souvenirs and art work of the place they live in. I don’t know anyone else who does that.
Is it because we don’t get any tourists? It has to be. If the rule of location merchandise is that it is for visitors, then we’re simply filling a void. Someone has to promote this town right?
Have you noticed this? A pic of your Buffalo T shirt would be cool right about now…