Protecting the Home Court
The ‘Local Pride’ Sports Apparel of Rick Gilbert
Amidst a rocky and turbulent election season, you may have noticed the political campaign inspired Lillard-McCollum ’16 shirt worn by your fellow Portlanders. Aptly named the ‘People’s Choice’ tee, the shirt is just one of a long line of Portland inspired merchandise by Rick Gilbert, graphic designer and founder of Grafletics. The Grafletics collection features creative sportswear and lifestyle clothing, and represents Portland teams such as the Trail Blazers and Timbers. Instantly recognizable by it’s blend of modern and retro design, Rick has created a timeless and distinct brand that unites Portlanders with a sense of pride.
‘Grafletics was started 3 years ago. It began as a combination of two of my passions. First, my work and trade as a graphic designer. Second, my lifelong involvement with sports. I wanted to marry these ideas, and turn them into a brand which created products that represented our community. At first I designed about 5 different styles of shirts based on my experience and involvement with the Portland Basketball community.The Grafletics collection has grown to include multi-sport, and lifestyle themed designs centered around the passion to further connect us as a sporting community.’
Grafletics is currently sold in 20 retail locations throughout the state of Oregon and recently opened a Sellwood venue in November 2016. The brand has become one of Portland’s fastest growing apparel brands, and even for Rick it’s hard to comprehend. ‘I don’t even notice it half the time. It takes people to tell me, ‘wow, you’re really growing’. When I sit down and look at our profit/loss statement, then I’m like ‘ok, now I see it’ but everyday I’m in the trenches, y’know. I work at it everyday and just focus on taking the next best step that I’m able to take.’
‘My aim is to further the connection between people and sport by producing products that are authentic, tell a story, and enable people to represent a piece of themselves to the world. There’s a fierceness and a loyalty to protecting a thing that you love and Grafetics is about protecting the home court.’
For Rick, it’s all about getting your game on!