Scarlet and gray, soft to the touch, emanating the worn yet timeless feel of your old go-to tee.
Such is the quality of many tees and tanks at Devoted, a new Columbus-based retailer nestled in Ohio State’s South Campus Gateway. The venue opened its doors on April 5, unveiling a cornucopia of products — apparel, hats, accessories, among others — from approximately 40 local suppliers. As its name so suggests, the store is driven by a devotion to both Columbus and Ohio at large — a devotion that co-owner Andrea Archibald cites as increasingly popular.
“Nowadays, people like to have something that not everyone else has,” Archibald said. “The ‘shop local’ movement is all about expressing one’s individuality, and at the same time (creating) jobs and (keeping) money in the community.”
Myriad Ohio-based brands — be it Lamp Apparel, Capital Roots, or Be Proud Ohio — line the shelves of the store, differing from traditional Ohio State apparel in one particular regard: the lack of a logo. Because these brands are not licensed to print “OSU,” “Ohio State” or “Buckeyes” on their products, they must conjure clever, creative designs that both represent Ohio and avoid explicit references. The store even carries brands that possess underlying, charitable purposes, such as Personal Baggage, whose particular line of animal-themed gear benefits a nearby animal shelter.
Hanna Schrock, a recent Ohio State graduate with a dental hygiene degree, said that — logo or not — she prefers Ohio-wrought apparel and these local designers.
“(Buying local) is way better,” she said. “People that own licensing rights have enough money coming in as it is. I’d rather support individuals from the area than giant corporations.”
However, be they football fanatics or simply apparel-loving Buckeyes, some students are tentative to purchase gear without the Ohio State logo. Jubal Kurudamannil, a second-year in mechanical engineering, is one such student.
“If I pay more I want the Ohio State logo,” he noted. “I wouldn’t mind (locally-made apparel) as long as it’s less expensive.”
And although Devoted is the first store of its name, Archibald and her husband, co-owner Nate Archibald, have ample experience with the locally-minded retail platform. They also own Simply Vague, which with three locations (The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, The Greene Town Center in Dayton, and Polaris Fashion Place), carries Ohio products — including food, furniture and clothing — from over 250 vendors. However, it was the popularity of Simply Vague’s various clothing lines in particular that initially sparked the idea for Devoted.
“We realized that the Ohio-made apparel was easily the most popular thing in all of our (Simply Vague) stores,” Archibald said. “We decided to create a branch that could carry all of the Ohio made apparel that Simply Vague carries and lots more.”
With its contemporary interior, central location and ever-changing inventory, Devoted is poised for popularity amongst spirit-sporting, local-loving fans. Archibald noted that students have already responded positively to the store, maintaining that as June turns to July, July into August and August into September, the store will meet a definite increase in sales.
“We carry a lot of T-shirts that cater to Buckeye fans so we’re excited for our first football season in The Gateway,” she said. “The students seem really excited to have a new apparel store on campus. They definitely seem to appreciate the fact that our T-shirts are more unique and not mass produced. If you want to have a cool T-shirt that not everyone else is going to have, it is the place to go.”
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