The 7 Line
The 7 Line’s Mets-inspired clothing line, appropriately named after the train that delivers fans to the stadium, hits the ball out of the park as far as fan wear is concerned. Since the first t-shirt design in 2009, there has been no turning back for the lines owner and creator, Darren Meenan. Meenan tells Inked how his ideas went from concept to creation on both his clothing and his skin in this web exclusive interview.
Inked Magazine: You share a space with other companies right now, do you think that you would ever have your own factory?
Darren Meenan: If I had to and something happened that forced me to open up my own spot then I will. But the way it is now, it works out perfectly. I have my own area, I print what I can by hand, and everything else is all done in the same building. I was approached two weeks ago to start selling to a major chain store that you see in every mall, and I instantly told the guy “no,” and he looked so confused as to why. But the way I see it, when people know what The 7 Line is, they are either fans or friends. It’s not like you can just go to Victoria Secret and pick one up. Those customers aren’t necessarily fans. If you know about The 7 Line then you’re a fan. I’m trying to hold on to that as long as possible, hopefully forever.
Inked: What’s your favorite shirt?
Darren: I feel like every new shirt that comes out is my favorite. Sometimes I come in and sketch things that just come to mind and then go home and design it. Then I’ll see people wearing that same shirt around the stadium. It’s such a crazy feeling.
Inked: And what’s your favorite part of this whole experience?
Darren: Well, what is really gratifying is the charity work, cause you know, it’s cool to make shirts that the fans like but it’s also cool to give back when you can. It’s always good to pay it forward. And I just get an awesome feeling seeing the fans wearing the shirts and then to see the players embracing it, it’s kind of just taken on a life of it’s own. The brand is it’s own community inside the fan base and is gradually getting bigger and more popular.
Inked: How did you come up with the name?
Darren: The company is named after the 7 line train, the train that runs through Queens. I couldn’t really think of anything, like all the names I wanted were taken. Lots of people take the train to the games so it’s an easy name to remember.
Inked: What were the other names?
Darren: All different names, like plays on different ways to write “Mets tees”. I didn’t know that it was going to get as big as it has. It worked out though. If I had Mets in my name, I would have been shut down so quickly. Nothing I do says Mets, everything is implied.
Inked: Have you ever been threatened to be shut down by them?
Darren: Well in the beginning, I guess July 2010, I had only been around a few months, I was writing the word Mets on shirts which you can’t do legally because MLB owns the TM. So MLB contacted me and I fixed everything really quickly and changed my plan ya know. But since then everything has been running pretty smooth.
Inked: What if they contacted you to collaborate?
Darren: It would depend on the conditions but I’d most likely say no. It’s a fan thing; I’m not trying to have a store in the stadium. I don’t ever want to write the word Mets on my shirts. Everything is implied and I really think that’s why the fans have been embracing it.
Inked: Right, if you’re a fan you know what the shirts mean.
Darren: Right, I’m cool with the way that it’s going. Do you watch Seinfeld? You know that episode when they are trying to figure out whether the girl’s breasts are fake or not? And she says by the way “they’re real and they’re spectacular.” This girls tank top is “they’re real and they’re AMAZIN” because “AMAZIN” is a word fans associate with the Mets. All the shirts are plays on stuff like that.
Inked: Your obviously a huge fan, do you have season tickets?
Darren: Nah, but I almost never miss a game. I personally think season tickets are a waste of money. I’d get them if the Mets sold out of their games, but they don’t. So it’s very easy to find them. It’s easier to show up and find a way in then to spend thousands up front on tickets before the season starts. I bought a 15 game plan this year with some friends of mine because I wanted to make sure that when I went I could sit with them but usually I just show up. Plus I get a lot of handouts ya know, it’s cool cause they want t-shirts and I want tickets. I make quite a few trades.
Inked: What do you do when baseball season is over?
Darren: You’d be surprised; there is no off-season for clothing. Once baseball season is over, I’m getting ready for Black Friday and holiday sales and stuff like that. I like to snowboard but I don’t get to as much as I used too. Pretty much, my life is consumed by this brand.
Inked: I mean, your pretty dedicated. You have an entire sleeve that’s Mets-inspired.
Darren: Yeah, I have my entire right arm done in Mets stuff. I have the HR Apple, two World Series pennants, Shea Stadium, Mr. Met, the New York Met logo on my elbow, the 7 line train, all the way down to an old-school subway token. Eric Ziobrowski did the work. Check him out his studio on route 112 in Medford on Long Island.
Inked: Is it true that a fan actually stole the idea?
Darren: Yeah, and I wrote a blog saying that I can’t believe that he got basically the same tattoo as me. Down to the placement and everything. Plenty of people have Mr. Met but the way it was laid out was identical. Almost kind of creepy. And then I said, “If you really want to flatter me, get my logo.” And then some other guy up in Canada got my logo the next day. I couldn’t believe it. Like I don’t even have the logo yet you know, and this kid has it.
Inked: What was your first tattoo?
Like most people getting their first tattoo I was underage and broke. I lied to the shop girl and they never asked me for id. At the time I was heavily in to BMX and wanted something pretty elaborate having to do with links of a chain and some other stuff. Not realizing the costs involved I couldn’t afford it. Instead of leaving the shop with bare skin I asked how much it would cost to get my initials on my upper arm. It was cheap enough and I was dying for a tattoo so that’s what I got. DJM in old english writing. It’s since been covered with the skyline from the Mets logo.
Inked: Do you have anything else?
Darren: Yea, my other arm is a half sleeve of a B-17 bomber plane that my Grandfather flew in during WW2. A celtic knot on my back done in my friends living room and a skull on the back of my leg. I also randomly got a shoulder to shoulder chest piece on a whim. I was just hanging out in a tattoo shop and I walked out with a tattoo. An appointment cancelled and I was like “I’m thinking about getting a chest piece,” so we just started. I feel like it was almost better that it wasn’t planned. There wasn’t any anxiety or anything because it wasn’t like I made an appointment to get started.
Inked: Who did the work?
Darren: It was an artist at Timmy’s Tattoo in Huntington. I think her name was Gia. I remember that she was like, “oh how are you feeling?” and I’m like “oh its great. I’m fine.” but I’m actually laying there dying. Halfway through the last session she was like, “oh you know, the ink may not take that great in the center because it’s right on the bone. You may have to come back” And I’m just thinking ‘great’ but I didn’t have to go back which was awesome because I didn’t want to do that shit again.