In a city where there's so much pride of place, it's strange that the whole "wear your 'hood on your sleeve" trend hasn't caught on. It got its start over five years ago with Triple Five Soul's and Blue Marlin's now-classic "Brooklyn" and "New York" shirts and hoodies. Specific neighborhood shirts touting phrases like "It's betta in da Bronx" were introduced soon after, thanks in part to a company called Neighborhoodies that makes made-to-order gear. Neighborhoodies started as an online retailer, allowing buyers to create a hooded sweatshirt (hoodie) that gave personalized props to their favorite concrete corner.
As the trend caught on, Neighborhoodies increased their inventory, introduced stores where people could design their wares in-shop and expanded to larger markets like L.A., San Francisco, Chicago and smaller markets like Cincinnati. So while L.A. stylists, socialites and celebs are wearing T's and hoodies that read "Oakland booty with an L.A. face," or "Silver Lake is for lovers," I can't help but imagine a shirt that reads, "Sylvan Park Sluggers," or better yet, "I grew up in The Nations."
Ironic sayings and ideology T's are practically de rigueur among Nashville's self-consciously hip crowd, with exceptionally creative types going so far as to craft their own (such as the recently spotted "Say No to Emo"). There are T's and bumper stickers that read "Save Cashville," so why not bring the love even closer to home? "Brentwhite"? Or "Antiochkeepin' the mullet alive," "Plastic is fantastic in Belle Meade" (nifty dual meaning there), "West Meade is the best Meade."
Making your own shirts can be laborious and time consuming, which is why a company like Neighborhoodies has been so successful. I recently gave a family member a shirt that reads "Redneck Royalty," complete with the three stars of the Tennessee state flag. I could have bought iron-on letters at a craft store and made it myself, but I let Neighborhoodies do it instead for about $30. If Nashvillians are wearing shirts from Urban Outfitters that cost $25 and say "Gettin' Lucky in Kentucky," wouldn't they fall for digs that read, "I was a Musica model" or "I got hustled on Music Row?" Some entrepreneurial Nashvillian needs to wield an iron, throw down some neighborhood love and find out. For ideas, go to www.neighborhoodies.com.