Michael Wachs is a real estate agent, not a T-shirt designer. But that hasn't stopped the Arizona native from making T-shirts in support of his adopted hometown of Houston, the proceeds of which are going to support HISD's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Wachs's wife is a theater teacher at the Montrose magnet school and grew up in the neighborhood. Hence the varsity-style T-shirts in navy blue and heather gray that sport "Montrose est. 1911" in bright orange font across the front.
"We actually just left Montrose," Wachs says with a chuckle. He and his wife recently relocated to the Heights, although he misses Montrose's "eclecticism" and its accessibility. "There are only so many neighborhoods in Houston that are bikeable and walkable and that's what I'm attracted to most."
Plus, Wachs says, "everyone was happy to be there."
Wachs isn't totally without a fashion background, however. Before he became a realtor, he was a designer. He even spent a summer "working in a sweatshop" for the design-your-own T-shirt company Neighborhoodies. His new Montrose T-shirts are being made in smaller quantities than the mass-produced gear at Neighborhoodies—Wachs only made 30 for his initial run, "because I didn't know what the reaction would be," he says. "As quick as they sell out, I'll restock."
They'll likely go quickly, though. Montrose restaurant Radical Eats has already requested and stocked his T-shirts, and Wachs is selling plenty of the $23 shirts online already too. They're available in both men's and women's cuts, but not for long. For his part, Wachs is just excited to help support his wife's school and their favorite neighborhood.
"I like community, so I just wanted to try and promote the neighborhhood that I love."