By Kevin HardyÊ from onpolitics.usatoday.com
DES MOINES, Iowa – Those who can’t get enough of Bernie Sanders can now ”feel the Bern” all over their upper body.
Raygun, an irreverent clothing shop in Des Moines’ East Village, just released a shirtcovered from sleeve to sleeve with cutouts of the Vermont senator’s face. Made with ”sublimation” technology, the shirt retails for $39 – more than the average Raygun shirt because the entire shirt is covered with printing.
Raygun already offered plenty of products poking fun at Iowa’s outsized role in presidential politics. But the Sanders shirt represents the first time the store has put a candidate’s face on a product, said store owner and founder Mike Draper.
The idea for the Sanders shirt originated from old-fashioned brainstorming. While considering a political shirt, the Raygun team thought about iconic political images like Barack Obama’s famous ”Hope” poster. They considered a Donald Trump shirt but were quickly dissuaded by some of his more controversial comments.
Draper said shirts completely covered in faces are growing in popularity. (Raygun previously sold a similar shirt covered with the face of comedian and actor Zach Galifianakis.) And he thought a guy like Bernie Sanders was too eccentric for a singular picture or phrase.
”You can’t capture that guy in just one iconic image. You really need dozens of Bernie faces,” Draper said. ”And we kind of wanted to leave it wordless because it’s not really an endorsement.”
So far, the shirt has been a big hit with Sanders’ supporters since it was put on the shelves Tuesday. The shirts are printed by Graffix Inc in Sioux City.
Draper said he likes some of Sanders’ politics – particularly his push for universal health care -Ê but disagrees with other stances. Mostly though, the shirt is just meant to be a little ridiculous.
”Here’s this guy with absolutely no political sex appeal and his face is totally covering your torso,” Draper said.
Hardy reports for The Des Moines Register.