As a guy who’s been in the t-shirt business in some way since 1998 I pay extra attention to clothing. I check the feel of the material, the fit, the printing process and most importantly the graphic design. I do this everywhere. The mall, flee markets, boutiques and most importantly Citi Field. I love seeing people walk around the stadium in my shirts. It’s an amazing feeling. Luckily members of what we like to call “The 7 Line Army” have been taking notice as well. Last night they made a shocking discovery out on the Shea Bridge.
I’ve been seeing shirts pop up this season that some may say have The 7 Line “feel”. T-shirts that either poke fun at the team or praise our favorite players in a funny way. While some may think that would bother me, I actually feel the complete opposite. That is how this brand started. I made a few shirts for my friends and it grew from there. I don’t claim to be the only person capable of starting a fan brand. It just worked out that so far there hasn’t been any serious competition in the Mets fan t-shirt market. If you have a good idea, by all means roll the dice and get some shirts printed up.
While I was closing up shop in McFadden’s our friends Rachel and Susannah went in to the game. As they walked across the bridge they spotted two of the “Even Straight Dudes Love Dickey” shirts I designed a couple weeks ago. They instantly thought “Did Darren make those already? I know we saw that exact design posted”. They shot me a photo tweet, I fumed and rushed inside. By the time I got to the bridge they were gone. I asked a friend of mine who works for Citi Field to keep his eyes open for the culprits. By the very next inning he had their section, row and seat number for me. I rarely miss a game and try my best to be friendly with everyone I pass, fans and staff alike. Even the employees are a part of the “Army”. I didn’t even make the shirts yet and these dudes were already wearing them. I had planned to release it during the All Star break. If you wanted the shirt, wait until it’s ready for sale. Not go ahead and bootleg your own. That’s not only ballsy but illegal.
I tweeted out the section and Susannah, Rachel and Lizy went down to ask where it was bought. I figured if I went down first they’d instantly lie if they recognized my face. They claimed it was a gift from a friend. Yea, right. Susannah (pictured with the bootlegged shirt) asked for a photo so we would have proof. So I went down and sat in the row behind them. I poked my head in and their friend was looking at The7Line.com on his iPhone. The girls didn’t even mention the website when they went down, just inquired about a purchase. They obviously knew where the idea came from; wasn’t just some insane coincidence. This put me over the edge. Well, almost. I don’t want to sound like a hard ass but I was ready to get ejected over this. I was hoping the guy would say he made them but he stuck to his guns that it was a gift from a friend. I asked repeatedly who the friend was but he simply gave me the “you don’t know him” run around. I semi calmly explained that this is what I do for a living and I don’t take this kind of action lightly. There are others that have bit off design ideas of mine but they at the very least change the graphics up. This is a STRAIGHT UP BOOTLEG. I wasn’t about to come to blows in the stands with a guy who MIGHT be telling the truth. Afterwards I was told by a different employee that on their way out they turned the shirts inside out. I guess they felt a little nervous with the amount of friends we have in the stands.
Whoever did in fact make them obviously knows where the original graphic came from. I’m sure you’re reading this and it would be a very wise decision to not mess around with my business. I’m at almost every game and have eyes everywhere. If something sketchy is going on I’ll find out about it. My buddy Chris Smith aka Big Country put it best “The 7 Line isn’t just about t-shirts, we’re a community, we’re pissed off with you.”
If anyone wants to rat out this person feel free to e-mail me by clicking the contact button above. There will be a $200 cash reward in it if your information pans out to be true. You can also stay anonymous if you choose.