ReadySetDC's 'Fifty-One: Be The Tourist' At Saki

by MADELEINE STARKEY · August 24, 2010

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ReadySetDC, ever aware of and concerned about all things D.C., took it upon themselves (itself?) to correct the pathetic state of our tourist t-shirts.  Let's be honest, copying the "I Heart NY" and replacing the N.Y. with D.C. is just sad: is it really that hard to come up with our own?  "No!" says ReadySetDC.  Which is why they started a new tourist tee contest, (re)DC.   The contest came to a close earlier this month, and in celebration of tourist tee creative liberation, ReadySetDC hosted a party at Saki on Friday night at which a finite number of the new D.C. tourist tees were available.

Of the 12 contestants who submitted their work, only one emerged victorious (duh).  That one was Alex Slater of NATAKO.  In an interview with the artist, ReadySetDC Brandon Bloch discovered that Salter shared our underwhelmed feeling vis-à-vis the "I Heart DC" copy cat shirts.  He told Bloch:

"In submitting this design to the competition, one of the submission questions was 'why do we need a new icon for our city?'  And most of the designers answered that the 'I Heart DC' design was just a bastardization of the New York design.  It makes a lot of sense.  I agree that the current design is sort of a hack and DC always plays second fiddle to New York.  So I thought this was an opportunity to say 'hey, we're here...we're for real."

Because the t shirt contest and subsequent party were predicated upon tourists, guests were advised to dress the part.  Fanny packs are a timeless indication of tourist status:

...As are the admittedly sad attempts at 'hip'ifying the old I Heart DC with some neon paint splatter:

Note: D.C. is not the only city to attempt to update its tourist tees with the neon paint splash.  NYC does it too.

Apparently, including as many tacky additions as possible to one's outfit is the best way to signify tourist status.  Case in point: ugly ugly ugly D.C. fitteds, strange eagles stuffed animals, and knee high athletic socks.

But because these cats are all D.C. dwellers, we know they'd never commit such egregious fashion faux pas while out and about in our fair city.  And if they must wear a tourist tee to show their love, we know which one they'll reach for: