Tees 'N Tats
Tattoo Lou's teams up with the Islanders to create unique T-Shirts
Thursday, 08.11.2011 / 4:42 PM ET / News
By Brittany Cole
The shirts, designed by Tattoo Lou’s owner Lou Rubino, marketing director Mark Parez and senior tattoo artist Irish Jay, come in three base colors: black, white and gray. Each has a different artistic design, while incorporating the Isles logo. The shirts are available now at the Islanders Team Store at Sunrise Mall in Massapequa.
“The main goal here is to get more of an audience and move more shirts,” Rubino said. “I think that teaming up with the Islanders is really going to help explode the clothing line that we’re working on. It really gives us the opportunity to get some more clientele through the Islanders.”
According to the Islanders Director of Retail Operations Terry Goldstein, these unique new shirts are going to jumpstart the team’s shift toward “lifestyle apparel”.
“This is very different from our mainstream licensed apparel,” Goldstein said. “Lifestyle apparel is Reebok’s idea of reinventing the logo. Now, with these shirts, we’ve done that, and the guys from Tattoo Lou’s, they get it.”
Rubino, who just recently took over the company from his father, Lou Rubino Sr., has been designing tattoos for the past 23 years. Of the t-shirt design process, he said he sat down with Parez and Irish Jay, started throwing ideas around and in no time had three shirts designed and ready to be sold – in just two short days to be exact.
“We worked on shirts together before and he’s a photographer, so it worked out well,” Rubino said. “We took a blank t-shirt and wanted to give them a tattoo feel, but yet, use the Islanders logo in the design. We were happy with how they turned out.”
Tattoo Lou’s, with five locations in Suffolk County (Selden, Deer Park, Saint James, Huntington and West Babylon), got its first true Islanders experience when the staff was invited to host a booth at the 2011 Draft Party at Nassau Coliseum on June 24. At the event, Lou’s staff tattooed – both temporary and permanent – hundreds of Isles fans in attendance.
After spending a whole night designing Islanders-themed tattoos, Rubino’s interest in designing merchandise for the team grew.
“I started doing a clothing line and I mentioned to the Islanders that I would like to make up some shirts with the Islanders logo on them, just something different,” Rubino said. “I was told the Islanders were trying to do something trendier for some time now, so we were glad to give them something like that.”
The shirts were first released at the team store during the Andrew MacDonald autograph signing on July 19. Goldstein said the initial release is a test to gauge fans’ interest.
“As we’re moving to our whole lifestyle presentation, you’re going to see more of this stuff, more abstract art,” Goldstein said. “We really want to see what our fans think.”
Not only are the shirts an opportunity for the Islanders to reach a broader and younger audience, they offer Tattoo Lou’s an opportunity as well.
Goldstein said the process has been a complete collaboration by all involved. He compliments the talents of Rubino and his staff and hopes the first three shirts are the start of something great for both the Islanders and the Tattoo Lou’s brands.
“Tattoo Lou’s is a very respected brand,” Goldstein said. “It’s been around a long time and the people there have some very creative ideas.”
Rubino couldn’t be happier with the entire process.
“I really enjoy working with the Islanders and meeting a lot of the crew, staff and team members,” Rubino said. “It’s been a great experience for us and I’m glad they can see how mainstream tattooing has become today. If everything goes well, we’re going to definitely do some new designs and do some kids clothing as well.”
To pick up one of the exclusive t-shirts, stop by the Islanders Team Store at Sunrise Mall, and to learn more Tattoo Lou’s different projects with the Islanders, visit tattoolous.com.