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Homage Owner and CA Alum Speaks to Academy Students

Sporting jeans and a sweater, Ryan Vesler’01 remarks, “I feel like I’m giving my junior speech again,” drawing laughs from the crowd.

Well known for his tee-shirt line, Homage, which has garnered critical acclaim, Vesler spoke to a crowded Trustees Room as a part of the Career Lunch Forum series on October 1st.

“I remember what it was like being seventeen or eighteen and having no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” begins Vesler. But what later arose from “an interest in vintage clothing“ turned into something greater.

As Vesler puts it, “You can take one man’s trash and make it someone else’s treasure. I would go to thrift stores all over Columbus and buy random stuff: old t-shirts, old sweatshirts, weird socks and memorabilia. I remember thinking: this stuff is so cool, how can I share it with others?” That simple question would create Homage, a brand dedicated to high quality vintage clothing.

But what Vesler says drew him to vintage clothes was his passion for the history behind them: “I realized there were some really cool stories, captivating, emotional stories, with people. I realized what had drawn me to the pieces in the thrift store were the stories and the moments.”

From these humble beginnings, Vesler now runs a clothing line supported by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and basketball star Russell Westbrook. The self-made entrepreneur has a growing business, with over 70,000 likes on Facebook.

For many high school students, people like Vesler are inspirations: an average guy from Ohio turned T-shirt entrepreneur. But just as important are Vesler’s beginnings. Starting from a simple idea, and taking it to a whole new level, Vesler has created a brand recognized worldwide. And without taking a chance on life, none of that would’ve happened.

With a new store now open in Easton, Vesler looks forward to the coming years. He hopes to expand his clothing line even further, while providing a unique customer experience. He is a proud alumni of the Columbus Academy and supplied this past year’s centennial tee-shirts.

The Columbus Academy is now sponsoring a contest that will run through Oct. 19th in conjunction with Homage. Students may submit a design for review. One lucky finalist will work with Homage to make the shirt, which will be available for purchase. The shirt should be Academy inspired.

Who knows? The next Vesler might just be you.

Written by Alex Lichen’16.



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