This Calgary apparel company is reviving your favourite dead sports franchises
Everyone has a favourite old sports team, local business, or venue that’s no longer around today.
Times change and all good things must come to an end, so we totally understand when some of the classics have to go. But what if you still want to rep your local favourite from days past?
YYC’s own C of Dead Clothing Co. brings a solution to Calgarians with an apparel line that offers merch from long-dead sports franchises such as the Calgary Cannons, Stampede Wrestling, Calgary Radz, and Calgary 88s.
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Other local icons that are represented include the Corral arena, Cecil Hotel, AM106 radio station, Lloyd’s Recreation roller rink, and recent pandemic casualty Ranchman’s Dancehall.
C of Dead is made up of Jonathan Anderson, Garrett Crump, and Ryan Williamson – and together they form a business trifecta.
Anderson has a background in marketing and communications, and he explains that Crump is “the numbers guy.” Williamson rounded things out when he joined the team in November 2019, bringing his design expertise to the group and acting as “quality control.”
In addition to their full-time careers, C of Dead has become a passion project for this group of three, involving designing, printing, and marketing apparel representing Calgary’s illustrious past.
Anderson and Crump have known each other since junior high, and both attended the University of Lethbridge. As they reconnected over beers in more recent years, they began discussing their love of the Calgary Cannons baseball team and wondered if there was somewhere online that they could purchase merchandise to rep the gone-but-not-forgotten team.
Coming up empty-handed in their search, they decided to get proactive and create some merch themselves.
While the company officially launched on April 28, 2019, Anderson says that their first sale was probably to himself or his parents. “We were testing the waters early on, accepting orders through social media and payments by e-transfer.”
These days, they take both orders and payment in a much more official way, via their website.
The company has worked with local establishments such as Dandy Brewing Company, and, most recently, with AllRush on a Pink Shirt Day anti-bullying campaign, donating $5 from each shirt purchased to the Calgary Hitmen Foundation.
“There are a couple of other collabs we’re waiting on releasing,” Anderson notes, “but I don’t think I’m allowed to say what they are yet.”
When asked how they choose which of Calgary’s bygones to feature next, Anderson says, “Thankfully we have a pretty vocal crowd of social media supporters that tell us what to do, so that makes it easy.”
The team also meets on a regular basis to brainstorm. “Mostly, we kick ideas around about what was really popular when we were kids that’s no longer here,” says Crump.
“And obviously with Ranchman’s – that one was easy to hop on as it was such a popular and iconic spot in Calgary.”
“I have about 10 years of experience on the others,” adds Williamson. “So I know what my age group will cling to.”
Lloyd’s Recreation was another easy choice.
“If you didn’t spend a dozen or so birthday parties at Lloyd’s, are you even from Calgary?” Anderson jokes.
Actor Andrew Phung, retired wrestler Bret Hart, and the NFL’s Alex Singleton are among local celebrities who support C of Dead.
“Andrew Phung is the definition of the underdog from Calgary who made it,” says Anderson.
“He’ll tell anyone who’s willing to listen what a great city Calgary is, and totally exemplifies what we’re all about.”
In addition to their clothing line, they recently launched the Tales from the C podcast, in which hosts Josh Humphries and Scott Cruickshank and their guests take a look at the people, places, teams, and events that have shaped Calgary’s sports scene and so much more.
What’s next for the apparel company? All three guys were very hush-hush, but you can guarantee it will be something unexpected and cool.
“The best part?” asks C of Dead on their website. “You get all the nostalgia, without the ’80s style.”
Shop C of Dead’s collection of YYC-certified hats, shirts, and crewnecks online, including nine new designs that dropped in 2021.