In 2007, 23-year-old Ryan Vesler submitted a licensing proposal to The Ohio State University for vintage-inspired graphic t-shirts. It was in the form of a massive corkboard plastered with newspaper clippings, old Buckeyes tees, and other collage fodder that evoked the bygone vibe he was going for. In other words, it was a mood board.
“At first we rejected his application,” Rick Van Brimmer, one of the higher-ups in the licensing office at the time, told Columbus Monthly. “The board looked like a fourth-grader’s presentation for school.”
But even rejected applicants were allowed an in-person pitch, and Vesler knocked his out of the park. That was the inception of Homage, the apparel brand that now has licensing agreements with many colleges (including, still, Ohio State), plus the NBA, the MLB, the NFL, along with tons of other non-sports-related entities.
Sitcom fans can rep everything from Seinfeld and The Office to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, while millennials might appreciate childhood throwbacks, like these Reading Rainbow and Garbage Pail Kids options. If you want everyone to know that you were a Nickelodeon kid growing up, Homage definitely has the shirts for that, too.
In keeping with Vesler’s original conceit, all of Homage’s designs have a distinctly vintage feel, whether they’re on shirts, sweatshirts, hats, pants, tank tops, or some other item.
And while the company’s offerings have expanded far beyond the borders of Ohio, it still boasts plenty of ties to the Buckeye State. There’s a collection for Guy Fieri, who was born in Columbus; and one for New Heights, the podcast by brothers Jason and Travis Kelce, NFL players and born-and-raised (suburban) Clevelanders. LeBron James has been known to sport Homage, too—the “Ultimate Warrior” shirt he wore after he and the Cleveland Cavaliers bested the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals is an Homage original.