Clothing is fast becoming the most popular way to show Bronx pride.
Parkchester brothers Paul and Anthony Ramirez, along with Norwood resident John Martin, have been promoting the Bronx through their company Mainland Media, with art, posters and events, since 2006. But none of their ventures has garnered as much attention as the line of t-shirts with with phrases invoking the Bronx emblazoned across the front.
The clothing line is called Bronx Vibe, while the most popular shirts display the words “From the Bronx.”
It is the self-proclaimed “number-one seller of Bronx apparel.” All clothing is designed by Bronx artists.
The group wrapped up its final day of a month-long pop-up shop sale at the Arthur Avenue Market on Friday, December 30. The shirts are available online at all times, but the Arthur Avenue shop was only the second time they could be bought in-person.
They were also available during Bronx Week at a pop-up shop at 614 Courtlandt Avenue in Melrose.
“We’re going to keep doing the pop-up stuff,” Anthony, 32, said. “Because when you are at a location for five days, or more, you can plan events around it, and around the surrounding community.”
The pop-up shop even attracted a television crew from Good Day New York to profile the clothing line.
The shirt designs change every few months, and once they change, the previous attire is permanently retired.
“We don’t want to keep making the same shirt,” Anthony said. “Once a shirt sells out, you’re not going to be able to get the same one.”
No site has been set for the next pop-up shop. Paul, 30, did reveal one plan for 2012, which is to mark the 35th anniversary of the Bronx being declared burning by Howard Cosell.
“We’re thinking of new products that acknowledge the history of the borough,” Paul said.
The original plan behind Mainland Media was to promote a positive image for the Bronx. It started as a social media website, then a poster company, before finding the market for Bronx t-shirts.
They had the idea for shirts in 2009, and by 2011, orders were coming in from all over the world.
“We’re thinking of doing a pop-up shop in Brooklyn, and maybe Europe,” Anthony said. “Why not? Because people from the Bronx live everywhere.” But given the popularity of the Arthur Avenue Market among tourists, the Bronx Vibe line has proven to be a hit with non-Bronxites as well.
They have also received numerous requests for neighborhood-specific clothing, but such merchandise is not imminent.
Paul D’Emilia, who now lives in Manhattan, stopped by the Arthur Avenue market while taking his three sons on a tour of his alma mater, Fordham. A “From the Bronx” shirt caught their eye, and they made a purchase.
“I noticed these were local guys, celebrating the Bronx,” he said. “We’re always interested in that.”
Shirts can be purchased at www.fromthebronx.com
Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.