If you're looking for a new way to show off just how much you love Houston, James Glassman's iconic T-shirts are calling your name.
Glassman is best known as the founder of Houstorian, an education and advocacy group "committed to telling the story of Houston, preserving its cultural and architectural history, and supporting the landmarks that make Houston fun and unique." Founded in 2006, the Houstorian website features articles and information about local landmarks — including the Astrodome, which Glassman's been fighting to save — as well as a store featuring custom printed, Houston-centric T-shirts designed by Glassman himself.
"As a tinkerer and visual artist, I have years of sketchbooks filled with drawings, doodles and logos, many related to Houston," he says. "Last summer, it occurred to me that putting the better ideas on T-shirts could be a great way to promote Houston and its history."
"It occurred to me that putting the better ideas on T-shirts could be a great way to promote Houston and its history."
Since he first began selling his designs last July, Glassman has sold more than 1,500 shirts to locals and homesick Houstonians alike. He now offers two dozen designs to choose from — and 18 shirt color choices — that pay homage to some of Houston's most iconic structures, including the Astrodome, the 610 Loop, the Sam Houston Monument, the Heights Theater and the Menil Collection.
Other designs include the gone-but-not-forgotten home run bull from the Astrodome, hometown legend DJ Screw's Screwston tapes and even one honoring Mattress Mack, just to name a few. Houstorian also sells a number of shirts emblazoned with various local zip codes, skillfully crafted so that each numeral represents a different area landmark, as well as a new design commemorating Juan Carlos, the Montrose rollerblader who garnered national attention when he appeared as a contestant on the reality TV competition America's Got Talent.
This summer, Glassman has been churning out one design each week, posting the new designs on Houstorian's Twitter account every Tuesday. According to Glassman, Twitter has been integral in driving his T-shirt sales. Houstorian's account — known for posting "Today in Houston History" tweets every day — has more than 11,000 followers, making it easy for Glassman to reach his target audience and promote his weekly designs, the latest of which reads "Luv Ya Hou!"
While the shirts are available to purchase from Houstorian's online store, Heights boutique Iko Iko is now also selling three of Glassman's designs in-store — including the best-selling 610 Loop tee — in both men's and women's sizes.
"Ultimately, I’d love to see the Houstorian label in others stores around town, too," Glassman says.