Good morning VI readers! You may have noticed this shiny new button to your left here on Vintage Indie. Today we are welcoming our newest sponsor Retro Campaigns. Fittingly enough on Presidents Day! If you haven't had the chance to check out this cool website, I think you are going to have a lot of fun as well as land some really great shirts. Presidents Day may have you thinking of politics, this years election and presidents of our history. Many of which held some really great campaigns. Retro Campaigns takes you back in time and has searched high and low to bring you hard to find remembrances of the past and has incorporated them into T-shirts for today's fashion.
A business like this is very interesting to me and I asked the
owner Christine a few questions about how she got started in this kind
of T-shirt business.
Vintage Indie: Can you tell me a little bit about how RetroCampaigns.Com started?
Retro Campaigns: Retro Campaigns launched in late December 2007; I am the founder and owner. I have lots of politics in my background; first as a volunteer during the 1992 New Hampshire Presidential Primary, while I was a college student. I think of that experience as something akin to ‘campaign boot camp’ – there’s nothing quite like it! I went on to work and volunteer on many campaigns in my home state of Nebraska, and worked for a state senator in the Nebraska Legislature before moving to Los Angeles, where I currently live. Though my most recent employment is in the entertainment industry I continue to follow politics very closely. Especially this year, which is turning out to be quite the barn burner!
A couple of years ago I thought it would be cool to own a t-shirt from a past campaign, like Robert Kennedy, for instance, one of my heroes. But after exhaustive searching I couldn’t find anything. Most campaigns back then used buttons, bumper stickers, posters, etc., but not many seemed to use those creative and evocative images on t-shirts. So I thought – why not make one for myself? I created a small handful of simple designs and I got a lot of positive responses from friends, who encouraged me to take it to the next level. I knew a fantastic designer through my job and he was not only excited about the idea as well, but I learned that he specialized in retro/vintage style designs. And that was pretty much the birth of Retro Campaigns!
Vintage Indie: What are some of your most popular shirt designs & their significance to your site.
Retro Campaigns: So some of our shirts are based on
campaign buttons used at that time - for instance "Kennedy 68" was an
actual button. Some of them incorporate imagery and slogans used at the time
but in a new way. For instance, George McGovern's supporters used buttons and other
artwork featuring doves, rainbows, the peace sign, etc., so we made some
designs including those images. And some of them are original creations, like
“Get Clean For Gene,” based on the unofficial campaign slogan from
Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 New Hampshire Primary Campaign. That is one of my
favorites, as it references the New Hampshire Primary. I really enjoyed writing
the bio for that page (I write all the bios on the site). We’ll be adding
another 5 or 6 designs within the next few weeks, and aim to add more every
month or so. It’s really been a lot of fun to incorporate my love of political
history with art and design, and the response has been more than I ever could
have hoped for.
The most popular shirt so far is the “Kennedy 68.” I think it’s actually deceptively simple, with just the slightly faded basic green font on a thin white tee. It recalls that era without a lot of bells and whistles; of course, JFK is such a powerful historic figure that you don’t need much more than the name to evoke an emotional response. It makes me glad to think that there are so many people out there who are proud to wear the name of a man who stood for so many positive causes, and that I might be helping them in some small way to express their admiration for him.
Vintage Indie: I see a portion of your profits go to SaveDarfur.org. can you tell us a little about your connection with them?
Retro Campaigns: From the beginning I wanted to donate a part of the profits to charity, and there certainly is no shortage of worthy causes. I chose SaveDarfur.Org due to their commitment to educating people about the conflict and atrocities in Sudan and pressuring for U.S. intervention. I might change the charity from time to time; I’m also an animal rights advocate and would like for Retro Campaigns to be able to help that cause as well.
Today makes a great day to head over to Retro Campaigns and pick up some great memories of the past. Please let them know you seen them on Vintage Indie!