So you think your style is retro? It may be, but is it real retro? The boys of 521 Linden St. have reinvented the concept of the retro-style throwback jersey. Instead of famous athletes, the jerseys serve as a tribute to some of history’s finest figures. The concept for the jersey was thought up by LSA junior Andrew Lloyd who, along with his eight other roommates, has turned this original and innovative vision into a reality with the creation of their company, The RealRetro.

Beth Dykstra
Evan Steinberg designs the “Romeo” shirt for The RealRetro. (ALEXANDER DZIADOSZ/Daily)
Beth Dykstra
The founders of The Real Retro showcase their jerseys at their house at 521 Linden St. (TOMMASO GOMEZ/Daily)

“I saw the throw-back jersey craze and thought it would be cool to celebrate accomplished historical figures they way we celebrate athletes,” Lloyd says. The RealRetro jerseys feature ten different figures, all of whom have significantly impacted history.

Lloyd said the merchandise emphasizes the importance of education while encouraging the idea that learning can indeed be fun.

The jerseys feature individuals that were selected from a list that once included more than 200 prospective candidates. Currently the RealRetro’s “starting lineup” is comprised of Achilles, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Charles Darwin, Amelia Earhart, Genghis Kahn, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Napoleon and General George Patton. But this team roster is by no means complete.

The RealRetro will continue to add players to its already outstanding lineup; William Shakespeare, Beethoven, Aphrodite and Harriet Tubman are only a few of the figures scheduled to make appearances.

All of the potential jersey candidates are researched and voted upon by the entire house. Each roommate, however, tends to be partial to the historical figures that would represent his major.

For example, Lloyd, who is an English major, supports the addition of Shakespeare to The RealRetro roster, while Pat Ford, an Economics major, would be thrilled to see the addition of an Adam Smith jersey.

Of the already existing jerseys, The RealRetro’s top sellers include Juliet and Charles Darwin.

All of the t-shirts are printed on soft, high-quality cotton, and the founders said the material has received many compliments from many of those who have purchased a jersey.

The shirts are slightly more fitted than a normal cotton t-shirt, which makes for a stylish look. They come in a range of sizes and are can be worn around the house or dorm, to class or even out on a Friday night.

Each jersey is unique, featuring one-of-a-kind designs with small details. On the back of the Charles Darwin jersey, for example, Andrew Lloyd’s silhouette is featured as the human in the image that depicts the process of evolution. The number on the back of Napoleon’s jersey, 55, is really 5’5”, symbolic of his trademark height.

The star and the cross that appear in the logos on the front of both the Romeo and Juliet jerseys represent the idea of star-crossed lovers. The tags on the shirts are even custom-designed and uniquely placed on the t-shirt. It is obvious that each jersey is the result of an enormous amount of thought and effort.

In addition to the amount of energy put into designing and manufacturing the shirt, there is also an overwhelming sense of love for all of the jerseys.

Making a purchase from The RealRetro is more than simply buying a t-shirt: it is buying an experience. Each jersey is sent with a “bio card,” made to mirror the idea of a sports trading card.

The cards include basic facts about the historical figure along with interesting, unknown facts about the person’s life. The customer also receives a complimentary sticker with his/her purchase. The jersey, bio card and sticker are then wrapped neatly in tissue paper and placed in a package that is guaranteed to be at the client’s doorstep in one to three business days after the date of purchase. The company members are always interested in hearing feedback from their buyers and are open to any suggestions one may offer regarding their product.

The RealRetro’s merchandise has universal appeal. The company has sold t-shirts to people ranging from children in elementary school to college-aged individuals.

“We’d love to see our professors teaching classes in our shirts,” says Lloyd.

They jerseys have been shipped all over the United States — from down the street in Ann Arbor to New Mexico. The RealRetro is even making appearances overseas in Japan. Whether you are an academic enthusiast or a trend-setting fashionista, The RealRetro jerseys are without a doubt a great investment and would make for a perfect gift.

The cost of one t-shirt is $19.99, but The RealRetro is now offering special t-shirt packages at discounted prices. As of now, there are five different packages to choose from: “History’s Starting Lineup,” which includes all ten t-shirts for $179.99, the “Star-Crossed” package, which features the Romeo and Juliet jerseys for $35.99, the “Illustrious Leaders In Love” package, including the jerseys of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar – also for the price of $35.99, the “Warrior” package featuring the Achilles, Genghis Kahn, Julius Caesar, General George Patton and Napoleon for $84.99, and lastly, the “Team Antiquity” package, which offers the trio of Cleopatra, Achilles and Julius Caesar for $54.99. To experience The RealRetro, visit the company website at www.therealretro.com. Who are your heroes?

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