Retail and Small Business & Startups

GM partners with local merchandiser

The Mitten State and automaker collaborate on a line of vintage apparel.

August 26, 2016
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The Mitten State
The vintage T-shirt line features the Buick, Camaro, Chevrolet, Corvette, Oldsmobile and Pontiac brands. Courtesy The Mitten State

(As seen on WZZM TV 13) General Motors now has a new location in Grand Rapids: your shirt.

GM recently announced a new partnership with local merchandiser The Mitten State, a Grand Rapids-based business that creates Michigan-inspired apparel and other products. Out of this partnership has come an exclusive new line of T-shirts inspired by the company’s iconic and vintage cars.

The Mitten State co-owners Scott Zubrickas and Will Bransdorfer are something of car-enthusiasts themselves and said they were more than happy to jump at the licensing opportunity.

“General Motors approached us with the idea, and of course we were thrilled to be a part of it,” Bransdorfer said. “Being fans of vintage muscle cars ourselves, and with Michigan’s historic connection to the automotive industry, we knew it would be a perfect fit. It’s been a fun history lesson working with GM to explore their logo and photo archives, some of which haven’t seen the light of day for decades.”

The Mitten State’s new GM T-shirts feature more than a dozen different vintage designs. The brands featured in the new line are made up of vintage vehicle logos from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, including Buick, Camaro, Chevrolet, Corvette, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.

A social media campaign this month unveiled the new line.

“The Mitten State is already getting a lot of great traction for the GM line from auto-enthusiasts who are looking to share their passion for vintage automobiles. In addition to the automotive fans, the GM line is also being marketed to Michiganders who have a tie to General Motors and its legacy within the state,” Zubrickas said.

“In fact, the first person to win the current social media contest shared that her dad worked at GM for over 30 years and was proud to display the GM legacy in a new fashion.”

The process began in February when The Mitten State started working with the official GM licenser. The attraction on both sides was immediate, Zubrickas said.

“The process was very thorough. The Mitten State wanted to ensure that the vintage look was portrayed accurately and on-brand for GM,” he said. “In fact, GM even granted the designers at The Mitten State access to their vault of vintage advertisements and logos to provide inspiration for the unique line.”

The Mitten State specializes in vintage-inspired design and graphic art from the 1970s and ’80s, priding itself on the use of domestically manufactured high quality fabrics, specialty designed graphics that cater to a Michigan audience and a variety of other products including bumper stickers, key chains, hoodies, pens and fleeces, Zubrickas said.

The GM line represents the largest collaboration to date for The Mitten State, with 13 designs available and an additional limited edition 14th design available in the coming weeks, he said.

“The Mitten State is a brand by itself, and when we’re able to work with companies that have been a part of the foundation of the state, it just adds more depth to our desire to represent everything that makes Michigan great,” Zubrickas said.

“General Motors is a business that represents Michigan as a whole. Detroit became Motor City because of the big car dealers, so it’s another great company that has a lot of great history and aligns with the vintage appeal of our style and brand.”

The GM-themed merchandise currently is available in stores and online at themittenstate.com.

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