Why spend years in school to become a fashion designer, when your inspirations can come to life in just two minutes? From its humble origins in a basement to its success as a company owned by Edward Gaffney, Rubber City Clothing has been printing its clever creations in downtown Akron for the last 10 years.
Akronites (and former Akronites) are especially attracted to Rubber City’s Akron Pride-themed designs, apparel and other fun items. If you want a 33-inch inflatable Goodyear blimp or a “Made in Akron” onesie for your baby, this is the place to buy it. Want a T-shirt that celebrates lost-but-not-forgotten Akron-area businesses like Red Barn Restaurant or Lawson’s? You’ll find them here too.
“It’s all Akron, and that’s what makes us different,” says Angela Roloff, Rubber City’s general manager. “The whole process of printing on any garment … it’s kind of crazy.”
With the ability to print Rubber City’s tongue-in-cheek slogans on any piece of clothing — from T-shirts to high-top sneakers to jeans- — this store can efficiently respond to creative requests from visitors, both in-store and online.
First, customers choose an item — a tank, dress, bag, hat or other garment — to have printed, or they can bring in their own items. Then, they choose from a wide array of designs, created by local artists as well as Roloff and Gaffney, hanging on the store’s walls. Since the designs are already on paper, it only takes two minutes for people to have their creations in their hands and out the door.
However, Roloff says the best feeling comes from helping fellow Akronites show their pride and support for the city and giving them the freedom to make their own custom designs.
“That’s what makes me happy,” Roloff says.