A True Hamiltonian Manifesto
Being proud of your city has picked up a particularly stylish bend in the past couple years.
Though by no means a new thing, the trend, and doing it with an eye for wear-able aesthetic has definitely seen a rise. In the southern Ontario lens, this has been significantly boosted by the success of certain Toronto teams, and their association to specific, chest-thumping Toronto gear: “We the North” for the Raptors, and Peace Collective’s “Toronto vs. Everyone” gear, made particularly popular during the Jays near championship run in fall 2015.
Of course, it’s not limited to Toronto, nor to 2015. Enter anything from Calgary’s YYC gear brought to you by fresh shops like Local Laundry, to brands like Ole Originals, producing gear reflecting retro Canada, but centred in BC. In Hamilton, Russell Gibbs’ “You Can Do Anything in Hamilton,” tagline and rallying cry has been proudly repped since at least 2011. You could even reference classic forms, like Milton Glaser’s timeless “I Heart NY.”
Although, there is a distinction to be made between items like Glasers and modern civic pride gear. Whereas Glasers has been picked up by every tourist trap in Manhattan (whether or not that was the intent), and largely appeals more to the external tourist than to the resident, civic pride gear is more about the internal citizens.
There is tourist gear, and civic pride gear. They’re not mutually exclusive, but civic pride gear truly speaks to the spirit of a city and those that live there.
Which brings us to True Hamiltonian, founded roughly three years ago by Max Francis. Anyone walking up a Hamilton street on any given day has easily encountered Max’s handy-work. Hell, Supercrawl 2016 was virtually a True Hamiltonian parade between his iconic cross-hammer shirts, or the more simplistic “Hamilton Home” products.
For the sake of this piece, I sent Max a few boring questions to tell us a bit more about himself, his background, and what he wants to do with True Hamiltonian brand. In keeping with his deeply cool demeanor, he decided to ignore all those and sent me back what instead we’ll call his True Hamiltonian Manifesto. So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, Max Francis…
"Most people love to talk about themselves, the funny thing is that I don't.
I want to talk about ideas. What True Hamiltonian is, what it was and what it will become is basically an idea. This idea is based on the premise that the vast majority of us can choose where we live and yet we don't. We sit around and complain about our jobs, our city and even the people we know when all of it is a choice that you made.
Someone asked me today what "Hamilton is Home" meant to me? The answer is an easy one. It means choosing. I chose Hamilton as my home and as such I’ve embraced my choice. Being born here doesn't make you a true Hamiltonian. Embracing this community for all its greatness and its flaws is in my opinion what makes a "True Hamiltonian."
Now, say you were me and you had this great idea. How would you expand on it?! I am and have always been a team player. So much more can be accomplished by a group than could ever get done by one individual.
With this in mind the key to building this brand has always been to partner with strong, community focused brands. It's been our greatest joy and pleasure to partner with such iconic Hamilton brands as the Bulldogs, Centre 3, Sexton in the City, Collective Arts Brewing, the Mohawk Student Association, OHSO Fitness and many more. If such a simple idea can matter so deeply to so many, our job as community leaders is done.
Moving forward the entire emphasis has to be on building "Together" and never apart. Nothing about what we do is unique or special. What is unique and special is the passion and love we all have for this community and for each other. The whole point of this is to wear our pride for this community on our chests. To get other people to do that as well, is a pretty amazing thing."