In 1634, two ships full of British settlers landed at St. Clement’s Island and colonized the Province of Maryland. Among those settlers was the Calvert family, credited with both founding Maryland and inspiring our iconic state flag with its family crests.
Every year on March 25, we celebrate that founding with an official state holiday and by waving Maryland’s bold and unique flag in all its red, white, black and gold glory. Nearly four centuries later, thanks in large part to a motivated graduate from UMD, we can wear that flag too.
In her senior year at the University of Maryland, College Park, Ali von Paris found herself out of a job when the pub where she worked shut down unexpectedly. Rather than scramble for another waitressing gig, she decided to start her own apparel company. First creating campy slogan t-shirts associated with her school and later focusing on state pride, von Paris used that unique and bold Maryland flag.
What began as a side job quickly became a booming business. Von Paris’ Route One Apparel now employs four people full-time and has launched over 1,500 unique products, most of which feature the Maryland flag. Von Paris has also formed partnerships and obtained hard-to-get licensing with other Maryland-centric brands, like National Bohemian (Natty Boh) Beer, Maryland Live! Casino, Power Plant Live and even the Maryland Lottery.
From socks and string bikinis to sweatshirts and pet gear, Route One Apparel quite literally has you covered with the Maryland flag — they even sell a full-body stretch suit imprinted with the state emblem. They have also branched into home decor and sunglasses.
The company has plans to expand into other states in the coming years, starting with the East Coast.
In addition to Maryland Day, customers have been seen wearing Route One’s flag fashions year-round at events like the Preakness and the Baltimore Running Festival, along with Orioles and Ravens games.
Not that you need a reason, though. With Route One gear to prepare you for any weather, you could fly the Maryland flag all year long.
Route One Apparel can be purchased online or at its retail location in Hunt Valley, inside the Amish Market at 1121 York Road. The shop is open Thursdays from 9-6 p.m., Fridays from 9-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8-4 p.m.
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