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Firefighter introduces Black Helmet Apparel Company
17
Oct '08
James Love couldn't find any cool firefighter T-shirts to wear around town in between his shifts as a firefighter in Central Florida -- so he made his own.

Now the 29-year-old Orlando Fire Department veteran is blending his passions for art and firefighting with an entrepreneurial venture called Black Helmet Apparel.

"I wanted to create a T-shirt for the next generation of firefighters," said Love, a third generation firefighter who earned an associate's degree in art before following in the firefighting footsteps of his father and grandfather. "Young firefighters don't want shirts with Dalmatians and cute sayings. We want skulls and wings. We want bad-ass."

Launched in August 2008, Black Helmet Apparel sold over 100 T-shirts in its first four weeks with just a simple website, some web marketing, and good ol' word of mouth. There are currently six designs for men and two for women. The T-shirts feature fire axes, skulls, wings and are available in black, brown and white. Black Helmet Apparel will expand its clothing line to include shorts, tank tops and hats in the coming months.

Black Helmet Apparel takes its name from leather fire helmets from the 1800s. The helmets are no longer leather, Love said, but the helmets of firefighters who have been in the raging flames are black from the smoke and soot.

"You won't find clip art on my T-shirts. A lot of the drawings are images I think would look cool as tattoos," Love said. "The images relay the fearlessness of firefighters. This is how we live. It's what we love. And we need a T-shirt to express ourselves when we're off duty. Black Helmet Apparel offers those shirts."

Black Helmet Apparel was founded by a fireman for firefighters. All the designs are hand drawn, and unique. You'll find no clip art here. Just unique, cutting edge imagery that relays the fearless, but frightening side of our job. One look should invoke the feeling you feel on the way to the column, and the satisfaction you feel once the fire is out.

Black Helmet Apparel

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