When you're from a city that's nicknamed "The Mistake on the Lake," it's no surprise that hometown pride apparel and accessories runneth over in my hometown of Cleveland and throughout the rest of the state. Being from Ohio is sort of like being fat: People tell you that you're supposed to hate yourself for it but through a journey of self love and learning not to give a damn about what other people think, you come to embrace it.
I spent a long time trying to pretend I wasn't from Ohio. I even lived away from my hometown in Chicago, Atlanta, and Rome for a period of nearly 10 years, and if there's one thing I've learned it's that you can take the girl out of the Midwest but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl — and that's perfectly okay.
I think the older we get, the more we start to embrace who we are and where we come from, whether or not we choose to stay there permanently. In every city that I've lived or visited for a good chunk of time, there reigns a sense of both disgust and hope for change as well as a fierce sense of pride. And if you want to express that pride through fashion, there are many cheesy cutout state necklaces and mass produced fast fashion tees to do so. But if you want to show pride with a little more edge from smaller brands based in the same cities as you, this list might be for you!
1. Ohio Against The World
There are many Ohio pride apparel companies, but Ohio Against the World is a five-year-old brand that had been gaining steady momentum until they exploded into the spotlight after a fan was televised wearing one their hoodies during the Ohio State Sugar Bowl Game earlier this year. The signature black tee is available for $30 up to size XXL.
2. Chicago Over Everything
VITA is one of the staple labels of Chicago go-to streetwear shop Fat Tiger Workshop. The Chicago Over Everything snapback was recently shown through the lens of photographer TheFamousKay in a chilling series of photos. The Melton Wool snapback shown here is $34.
3. Pray For ATL
Like many people new to Atlanta, I saw these Pray for ATL tees, stickers, and wall art around the city and assumed they were something religious. But once I did some research, I found out that this message was by ATL-based street artist R.Land. In 2008, he told Stomp and Stammer the meaning behind the Pray for ATL message saying, "We need to at least have a moment of silence for this city, and think about what's going on here, and how we can impact it in positive ways."
4. LA Doorkockers
These LA doorknocker earrings ($40) by Honey B Gold make me wish I had already added the city of angels to the list of cities I've called home so I could wear them. The Cali-based brand always shows love for their home city but they also make a series of "TurfLove Pendants" to show pride for other states, too.
5. New York Brass Knuckles
We all know that this hand-carved New York nameplate ring ($60) from groundscoreNYC isn't the real brass knuckles that New York might be known for, but it's definitely a safer version. I met Shanna Nash, one-half of the groundscore team, when I was a vendor at Magic Market Week in Vegas and tried on a million of these rings, each more badass than the next. The shop stocks a variety of cities and states along with your favorite food items: pizza anyone?
6. State Forty Eight
Before taking a trip out to Phoenix earlier this year, I researched the Arizona fashion scene and discovered the brand, State Forty Eight. Even though the brand name rhymes, these tees, crops, and hoodies are far from cheesy. This classic logo crop top comes in sizes small-large for $25.
7. Area Code Studs
Perhaps the only dainty piece on this list, these sterling silver area code stud earrings ($29) from theHOMETOWNhaven are a subtle way to rep your city. You can mismatch area codes like the ones shown here for Miami (which I knew thanks for Drake) and San Diego (which I totally had to Google).
8. Heck Yes Texas
I know better than to mess with Texas so I had to include them on this list. Though this Heck Yes Texas tee ($25) from Tumbleweed TexStyles is admittedly almost cheesy, it just felt right to represent Texas pride.
9. Viva La Brooklyn
This Viva La Brooklyn tee ($25) from Gifted Apparel NYC features a design that looks like it was scribbled in a sharpie right onto the tee. The feel rings true to the hustle hard and do-it-your-damn-self attitude of the artists and makers living and working in Brooklyn.
10. Lo$$ Angeles Ear Cuff
Los Angeles-based angel and jewelry designer Melody Ehsani is one of my personal favorite jewelry designers. And while I know there's another pair of Los Angeles earrings on this list, I've never seen anything quite like this "Lo$$ Angeles Ear Cuff" ($27).
11. South Got Something To Say
This André 3000 quote seems fitting for a tee from the brand ATLTEES. Screenprinted in Atlanta, the South Got Something To Say tee ($20-$25) is available up to a size 3XL.
Images: Author's Own; Courtesy Brands