Sunday, April 3, 2011

The original snarky Cleveland T-shirt company

Ok, it may not be the original, but it's the first one I heard of and it's still ahead of the game. I thought for my first post, I would explore the phenomenon that is C.L.E. Clothing Co.
If you're not familiar, you might not think it's a phenomenon, but in the competitive business of Cleveland t-shirts, C.L.E. Clothing is head and shoulders above the rest.

If I remember correctly, I first found out about this t-shirt company from a blurb in Cleveland Magazine. It featured a few photographs of some of the t-shirts and a short description about them. I, being a die hard Clevelander, thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. The design that caught my eye, which turned out to be the one that caught a lot of people's eyes, was the "I ♥ CLE" shirt. Appealing to the sports fan in most NEO natives, there were a few different versions featuring Indians, Browns and Cavs colors and in place of a heart was a baseball, helmet or basketball respectively. I had been looking for a new Cavs shirt and thought this was a nice unique choice.
In case the awesome designs aren't enough to tickle your fancy, let me just say they are the comfiest Ts I have ever worn. When the Browns played on Monday night football last season a quick pan of the crowed showed a fan in the brown and orange version. I got quite excited that a local place got a nice shout out on national television.

Since then I bought two other shirts from them: The "Font" shirt which appealed to the typography nerd in me.

This sort of collage of Clevendisms is probably my favorite. (Note: if you look closely I had to take a sharpie to a certain part of this shirt last July.)
Both of these have since been retired, but a new version of the collage shirt is currently featured on the site.

What impresses me the most about C.L.E. is their use of social media. They are constantly posting new design ideas on their Facebook page and really taking user comments into consideration for which designs actually make it onto the shirts. You would be smart to follow them, they're always posting discounts and promotions including 20% off if you send them a photo of you in one of their shirts. Sometimes they come on quickly like offering all Cavs shirts for $15 after the team beat the Miami Heat.

From a few fun Ts, they have now branched out into sweatshirts, kids sizes, buttons, totes, hats and even underwear! There's something for every kind of Clevelander, from sports fanatic to music junkie, Irish, Slovak and everyone in between.

You can check out all of their current designs at or at Native Cleveland in Waterloo Arts District of Collinwood.


  1. Don't forget their Twitter profile, too! They really interact with their customer base on a human level, something that really isn't seen on a corporate Twitter. Just another perk of being local :)

  2. Crooked River CoutureApril 5, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Absolutely! There's nothing more refreshing than an actual person behind a Twitter account instead of just a feed. They actually tweeted me last night about my post!

  3. hi, i am planning to have my own shirt store after reading a very nice article (Cheap T-Shirts: A Nice Business to Start). do you think shirt printing is also nice?

    Smith | cheap tee shirts