Obama-themed Shirts Remain Hot Sellers After Election

This story was written by Kat Murti, Daily Californian
Still driven by Obama-mania weeks after the presidential election, Susanne Stolzenberg perused politically motivated shirts at a Telegraph Avenue street stand in search of an Obama shirt.

Stolzenberg, a second-year UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law student, said global excitement surrounding the election inspired her to purchase a shirt for her goddaughter in Germany.

"There's a lot of excitement around Obama in Europe, and I think she'll really like the shirt," Stolzenberg said.

Three weeks after the general election, stands and shops in Berkeley continue to stock Barack Obama shirts and other paraphernalia in support of his campaign.

Filthy Dripped, a store on Telegraph Avenue that carries Obama shirts, including a custom-designed one, only had a handful left over from the election season. Co-owner Ronald Thompson said the store may stock another custom-designed Obama shirt celebrating his victory.

"Everyone wants a shirt with Obama on it," Thompson said.

Some said that the continued post-election popularity of Obama shirts may be owed to fashion rather than political conviction.

"There are some people who are purchasing Obama shirts after the fact ... An Obama shirt is almost a fashion item," said sophomore Timothy Cho, a member of the Berkeley College Republicans. "I think the majority are supporters who have been wearing them all along, but I think there are a lot of people who bought the shirt after he won and have been wearing it kind of as a trend type thing."

Fal Rahmani, an employee of Royalty Couture, another store on Telegraph Avenue that sells Obama shirts, said the store was selling out before the election and continues receiving purchases.

"We still have some (Obama shirts) -- people are still buying them," Rahmani said.

Freshman Jake Brymner, who is a member of Cal Berkeley Democrats, owns four or five Obama shirts, including one he bought after the election.

"It was too good of a shirt to pass up on even if the election was already over," he said. "(The shirts) show my support and at the same time, each one is kind of a cool shirt in and of itself."

Even before the election was called, John McCain paraphernalia was all but absent around Berkeley, with only a few stores selling merchandise.

"I feel like there's a bias in some way for them to be having just Obama shirts and stuff in their stores with no McCain things at all," Cho said.

But junior Sachin Jain, a member of Cal Berkeley Democrats, disagreed, stating that the shirts functioned as campaign tools.

"I think a lot of people realized the essential campaign tool of the shirt and wore it for that reason more than a fashion one," Jain said.

Senior Robert Klein said the shirts play an important role between Obama's election and inauguration.

"(Obama's) not president yet, and it's very easy after an election like this to let the progress we've made slide," Klein said. "It also shows our new president support, which is important."

UC Berkeley freshman Arianna Cantabrana, a member of Cal Berkeley Democrats, said the abundance of Obama shirts was more or less an accurate reflection of Berkeley voters.

"I think it was definitely a representation of the way people voted," she said. "(Shirt sales are) aimed towards the market."
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