When hometown pride meets a passion for fashion, it makes for one chic ensemble.
“Arizona Passion Meets Arizona Fashion” is the motto of State Forty Eight, a local clothing company that creates stylish apparel and accessories inspired by the 48th state we call home.
Good friends Mike Spangenberg, Stephen Polando and Nick Polando founded State Forty Eight in 2013 to reinvigorate a sense of pride in the Grand Canyon State. From fashionable everyday T-shirts for women, men and kids, to accessories, like color-blocked hats and pet bandanas, there’s something for everyone. The pieces are all tied together by the brand’s signature logo that artfully reads “State Forty Eight” over Arizona’s identifiable silhouette.
Ahead, Mike shares how State Forty Eight all began, how Phoenix is a trove of design inspiration and the team’s favorite things about Arizona.
AFM: We love the idea of combining Arizona pride with fashion. Please tell us about State Forty Eight and how it began?
State Forty Eight (SFE): It started with the idea of wanting to desperately change the way people showed their pride for Arizona. We were embarrassed of the poor quality “Walgreens” souvenir shirt that seemed to be the only way to wear pride for the 48th state. Fashion is what you make it out to be, so why not be something people can wear on a daily basis? Mike always had a passion for fashion and to create a clothing line. Stephen created the catchy brand name and Nick designed the logo. We officially became trademarked in March 2013 and hit the ground running since. Our goal is to be the recognized apparel brand of Arizona by utilizing all the incredible local landmarks, sports teams, universities, charities, etc.
AFM: Please tell us a little bit about you and your partners –
SFE: All three of us are very different, which works well for us. We bring three completely different viewpoints to the table on a daily basis. We all grew up together since elementary school. Mike is born and raised in Arizona and takes great pride in his sports team. He is also extremely passionate about clothing and business. He has a hotel industry background of 15 plus years. Stephen is a sports guru and has strong customer service skills coming from a hotel Industry background as well. Stephen loves music and plays hockey every Sunday. Nick is the creative mind and the designer of the group. He is also the younger brother of Stephen. Nick loves the outdoors and cycling. He also plays hockey each Sunday.
AFM: What is the line of products you offer?
SFE: We currently offer hats, T-shirts, hoodies, yoga pants, leggings, water bottles, spine wallets, decals, onesies and other styles for the ladies. We are constantly implementing new products to reach every demographic possible. Our brand message is, “Clothing for all, inspired by Arizona.”
AFM: What’s your favorite piece from the line?
SFE: We love it all but the special product to us is the recent design collaboration with the Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians. In just two months the shirt became our number 1 selling product for all of 2015 (see above). The shirt is receiving a ton of great publicity throughout Arizona. It feels good to make a shirt representing our favorite football team while being able to donate a portion of sales to the Arians Family Foundation. The Coach shirt continues to fly off the shelves so it’s extra special to us being intense Cardinals fans.
AFM: Where do you get design inspiration for State Forty Eight?
SFE: The design aspect is all Nick Polando. Stephen and I attempt to give direction and interest but Nick is the man behind the logos. We ultimately agree as a group on all designs once finalized. Nick is a self-taught graphic designer and always strives to be different than the rest. Most of all our designs are originally hand sketched by Nick as well. Arizona hiking, landmarks, sports, universities, state colors, professional teams and etc. all play a factor in current and future designs. We do tend to focus heavy on sports because not only are we passionate about them, but we feel strongly they bring communities closer together.
AFM: If you had to pick, what’s your favorite thing about Arizona?
SFE: Nick would say the outdoors and hiking or cycling specifically. Stephen would say the continued growth of Arizona and our sports teams. I personally love the underdog perception Arizona has. Arizona is a beautiful place to live for a list of reasons but is still considered a small market despite being the 6th largest city in the United States.
AFM: Where can you buy State Forty Eight merch?
SFE: www.statefortyeight.com has the entire collection but we currently sell to retailers, such as: Frances, Sibley’s West, several stores throughout Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona Cardinals Team Shop, and resorts like the Westin and Renaissance. We have new retailers to add soon as well.
AFM: Any exciting plans for State Forty Eight for the future?
SFE: We are very goal oriented and have a several things coming down the pipeline. We are close to finding a new home for office and production. We are working on establishing a presence/relationship in Sedona and Grand Canyon. We plan to begin a college ambassador program in 2016. We hope to utilize interns and provide them with work experience while receiving school credit. We would love to have designs and partnerships for all the major sports teams and universities as well. We have many other ideas and promising opportunities in the near future as well. Each day is very exciting for us to see the hard work begin to pay off.
To shop, or for more information about State Forty Eight, please visit www.statefortyeight.com.